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Entered  according  to  Act  of  Congress  in  the  year  1894  by 

In  the  oflicc  oJ  the  Librarian  of  Congress  at  Washington. 


Introduced  by  HON.  WM.  ARMSTRONG. 

WHEREAS  the  early  history  of  the  territory  of  Oregon  is  in  a 
chaotic  state  as  regards  the  early  pioneers, —  those  noble  men  and 
women  who  braved  the  perils  and  sufferings  incident  to  a  long 
and  tedious  journey  over  the  then  trackless  and  uninhabited  des 
ert  ;  and  whereas  there  still  remains  a  full  and  varied  record  of 
the  heroic  deeds  of  those  brave  men  and  noble  women,  in  the 
office  of  the  secretary  of  state,  the  compilation,  tabulation,  and 
publication  of  which  would  redound  to  the  honor  of  this  patri 
otic  people,  worthy  of  adorning  the  brightest  page  of  American 
history,  and  thereby  transmit  to  posterity  the  fortitude  and  sacri 
fices  of  the  men  who  saved  this  state  to  the  United  States,-Ua 
state  that  today  is  the  brightest  gem  in  the  galaxy  of  our  glori 
ous  constellation ;  and  whereas  many  of  those  early  pioneers  have 
passed  that  bourne  from  whence  no  traveler  returns,  and  Time  has 
laid  his  heavy  hand  on  the  hoary  heads  of  those  that  remain,  let 
us  join  with  them  in  erecting  to  their  memory  a  monument  that 
will  stand  in  the  solitude  of  time,  beneath  whose  shadow  nations 
may  crumble,  and  around  whose  summit  generations  yet  unborn 
may  linger,  by  the  publication  of  those  records,  now  resting  in 
oblivion,  in  the  archives  of  the  state;  therefore  be  it 

Resolved,  That  the  secretary  of  state  be  and  he  is  hereby  in 
structed  to  cause  to  be  compiled,  tabulated,  and  published,  as  far 
as  is  possible  from  the  material  in  his  possession,  a  complete  rec 
ord  of  the  early  Indian  wars  of  Oregon,  including  the  wars  of 
1855  and  1856,  and  a  brief  sketch  of  the  pioneer  history  preceding 
such  wars  and  connected  therewith,  and  that  he  be  instructed  to 
expend  not  to  exceed  the  sum  of  fifteen  hundred  dollars  out  of 
any  moneys  not  otherwise  appropriated,  for  the  compilation  and 
tabulation  of  such  historical  record,  and  such  other  information 
as  will  preserve  the  names  and  incidents  connected  with  the  In 
dian  wars  of  Oregon  ;  such  historical  work  to  be  compiled  under 
his  direction. 

Be  it  further  resolved,  That  the  unexpended  balance,  if  any, 
shall  be  returned  to  the  state  treasury.  The  secretary  of  state  is 
hereby  appointed  custodian  of  such  book  when  published,  and  he 
is  hereby  authorized  and  directed  to  sell  such  book  at  the  actual 
cost  of  compilation  and  publication,  and  to  report  to  the  legisla- 



tive  assembly  of  1893  the  amount  of  money  received  by  him  as 
the  proceeds  of  such  sales.  The  secretary  of  state  is  further  in 
structed  to  compile  statements  showing  services  of  the  soldiers  of 
the  Indian  wars  of  Oregon,  and  to  publish  the  same  in  pamphlet 
form  for  distribution  among  the  veterans  of  said  wars. 

Adopted  by  the  house,  February  18,  1891. 

T.  T.  GEEB, 
Speaker  of  the  House. 

Concurred  in  by  the  senate,  February  19,  1891. 

President  of  the  Senate. 


HAVING  been  entrusted  by  the  legislature  of  Oregon 
with  the  duty  of  recording  the  history  of  the  early  wars 
of  the  white  race  with  the  Indians  of  the  northwest,  it 
appeared  to  me  eminently  proper  to  set  forth  the  causes 
in  detail  which  led  to  those  race  conflicts.  In  doing 
this  I  have  endeavored  to  "nothing  extenuate,  nor  set 
down  aught  in  malice,"  but  rather  to  give  a  philosoph 
ical  view  of  the  events  recorded.  This  is  the  more  im 
portant  because  fiction  and  sentimentalism  on  one  hand, 
and  vengeful  hatred  on  the  other,  have  perverted  the 
truth  of  history. 

The  Indian  is  a  wild  man;  it  would  only  be  a  fact  of 
evolution  to  call  him  a  wild  animal  on  his  way  to  be  a 
man,  provided  the  proper  environments  were  furnished 
him.  While  the  instincts  and  perceptions  are  acute,  the 
ethical  part  of  him  is  undeveloped,  and  his  exhibitions 
of  a  moral  nature  are  whimsical  and  without  motive. 
Brought  into  contact  with  white  men.  whether  of  the 
lowest  or  of  the  highest,  he  is  always  at  a  disadvantage 
which  is  irritating,  and  subject  to  temptations  which  are 
dangerous.  On  the  other  hand,  the  white  man  is  sub 
ject  to  the  more  subtle  temptation  to  abuse  his  superi 
ority  for  selfish  purposes;  he  being  in  selfishness  often 
but  little,  if  at  all,  removed  from  the  wild  man. 

One  point  to  be  brought  out  in  these  pages  is  the  ac 
countability  of  the  government  in  our  Indian  wars,  and 



its  indebtedness  to  the  pioneers  of  every  part  of  the 
country:  first,  in  inviting  settlement,  and  then  in  not 
properly  protecting  settlers.  The  policy  of  the  govern 
ment  for  a  hundred  years  has  been  to  throw  out  a 
vanguard  of  immigration,  and  when  these  had  fallen 
victims  to  savage  cupidity  or  hatred,  to  follow  with  a 
tardy  army  and  "punish"  what  it  should  have  pre 
vented.  The  Spaniards  did  better  than  this,  for  they 
sent  a  garrison  out  with  every  colony  and  "reduced" 
the  native  population  with  comparatively  little  blood 

If  this  record  of  the  first  ten  years  of  Indian  war 
fare  in  Oregon  presents  this  subject  fairly  to  the  reader, 
it  will  have  achieved  the  purpose  for  which  it  was  writ 

SALEM,  July  30,  1893. 

















viii  CONTENTS. 
























DEBT __  227 














INDIANS...  __  371 








GANIZED ___ _  423 










FOR  more  than  twenty  years  before  the  first  immigrant 
party  set  out  for  Oregon,  the  government  had  been  point 
ing  out  to  the  people  of  the  United  States  the  prize  it  was 
reaching  after  on  the  shores  of  the  Pacific.  As  a  nation 
America  was  still  too  young  for  conquest,  even  had  it  been 
a  part  of  our  policy  to  acquire  territory  by  force,  which  it 
was  not.  By  treaties,  and  by  expending  a  few  millions  in 
money,  we  obtained  the  transfer  of  French  and  Spanish 
titles;  and  by  force  of  defensive  arms  had  compelled  Great 
Britain  to  surrender  to  us  the  forts  she  held  on  our  lake 

But  before  this  was  accomplished,  far-seeing  statesmen 
had  set  on  foot  that  transcontinental  expedition,  never 
appreciatingly  eulogized  in.  the  past,  nor  adequately  hon 
ored  with  remembrance  in  the  present — the  journey  of 
Lewis  and  Clarke  from  the  Missouri  river  to  the  Pacific,  at 
the  mouth  of  the  Columbia,  in  1804-5-6.  It  was  a  brave 
and  a  perilous  undertaking,  and  forged  one  of  the  strong- 


est  links  in  the  chain  of  evidence  which  prevailed  in  the 
controversy  with  Great  Britain  concerning  our  title  to  the 
Pacific  Northwest.  It  stimulated  the  first  commercial 
enterprise  on  the  coast  of  Oregon — the  Pacific  Fur  Com 
pany  of  Astor  —  the  melancholy  failure  of  which,  through 
the  cowardice  and  treachery  of  his  Canadian  partners, 
made  room  for  the  advent  of  a  British  company. 

The  ruin  of  the  Pacific  Fur  Company  was  regarded  as 
a  humiliation  to  the  country,  but  such  was  the  situation 
of  international  politics  that  congress  declined  to  inter 
fere,  or  subsequently  to  extend  aid  to  individual  enterprise 
in  Oregon,  and  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company,  successor  to 
the  Northwest  Company,  was  left  in  actual  possession, 
while  diplomacy  in  London  and  Washington  carried  on 
the  contest  for  mastery  year  after  year,  with  varying 
prospects  of  success. 

The  war  of  the  Revolution  had  found  Americans  a 
nation  of  politicians,  and  left  them  a  nation  of  patriots, 
barring  the  Tory  minority,  of  whom,  after  the  Declaration 
of  Independence,  very  little  was  heard:  The  doings  of 
congress  in  the  early  part  of  the  century  were  far  more 
interesting  to,  and  notwithstanding  the  lesser  number  of 
public  prints,  more  studied  by  the  people  than  are  its  acts 
in  this  age  of  daily  newspapers.  Each  man  who  had  in 
any  way  aided  in  the  struggle  for  freedom  felt  a  personal 
pride  in  enhancing  the  glory  of  the  new  republic,  and  a 
corresponding  desire  to  punish  its  enemies  or  abase  its 
rivals.  Such  was  the  spirit  of  Americanism  for  the  first 
fifty  years  of  the  existence  of  the  United  States. 

Well  aware  of  the  national  temper,  statesmen  made  use 
of  it  in  the  movement  to  establish  the  title  to  the  territory 
in  dispute  on  the  Pacific  coast.  They  took  care  to  inform 
themselves  of  the  private  enterprises  of  the  citizens  in  the 
Northwest,  the  most  notable  of  which,  as  occurring  so  soon 
after  Lewis  and  Clarke's  expedition,  was  the  adventure  of 
Major  Henry,  who  led  a  fur-hunting  party  to  the  head 
waters  of  therh&$rt  in  1808.  lie  confined  his  suhse- 


quent  operations,  however,  to  the  headwaters  of  the  $$&   £ 
$(fd)WC  where  his  name  is  preserved  in   Henry's  Fork  of 
that  river. 

As  early  as  1820,  Floyd,  member  of  congress  from  Vir 
ginia,  caused  inquiry  to  be  made  "into  the  situation  of  the 
settlements  on  the  Pacific  ocean,"  having  reference  to 
Astoria,  which  had  been  restored  to  us  after  the  war  of 
1812-15,  and  to  the  settlements  of  the  British  fur  compa 
nies  in  this  region. 

Among  the  matter  brought  to  light  by  this  inquiry  was 
an  account  in  1823  of  the  expedition  of  W.  H.  Ashley  in 
the  previous  year.  Encouraged  by  indications  of  govern 
ment  support,  Ashley,  in  1822,  pushed  a  trading  party  as 
far  west  as  the  South  Pass.  In  1823  he  took  a  wagon 
train  to  Green  river,  repeating  his  venture  for  several  sea 
sons,  and  reporting  to  the  government  all  the  information 
obtained  in  his  several  expeditions.  Other  companies 
succeeded  him,  and  came,  into  conflict  with  the  Hudson's 
Bay  Company  on  the  west  side  of  the  Rocky  mountains; 
their  explorations  being  watched  with  interest  by  those 
having  the  future  of  the  United  States  under  consideration. 

Floyd,  in  1821,  presented  a  report  to  congress  contain 
ing  all  the  information  gathered  from  the  explorations  of 
traders  and  adventurers,  introducing  a  bill  at  the  same  time 
authorizing  the  president  to  occupy  the  Oregon  territory, 
extinguish  the  Indian  title,  and  provide  a  government, — 
occupation  meaning  defenses  at  the  mouth  of  the  Colum 
bia,  and  military  settlements  at  intervals  along  the  route 
to  the  Columbia.  This  bill  was  discussed  and  amended 
from  session  to  session,  the  military  features  being  gradually 
eliminated  as  the  temper  of  the  nation  changed,  dona 
tions  of  land  being  offered  to  settlers  as  an  inducement  to 
emigration.  Already,  in  1822,  petitions  began  to  flow  in 
from  associations  in  different  states,  both  north  and  south, 
memorializing  congress  to  pass  Floyd's  bill,  and  books  and 
pamphlets  on  the  boundary  question  between  Great  Britain 
and  the  United  States  abounded,  written  not  only,  or  not  so 


much  by  statesmen,  as  by  politicians  among  the  people. 
Correspondence  between  the  diplomats  of  both  nations 
may  have  been,  if  not  aided,  at  least  rendered  more  cau 
tious  by  the  arguments  put  forth  so  freely  on  every  hand. 
Congress,  it  must  be  conceded,  by  admitting  bills  promoting 
emigration  to  a  territory  in  dispute  while  negotiations  were 
still  pending,  violated  the  international  code  of  fair  deal 
ing;  but  not  more,  it  was  argued,  than  Great  Britain,  who 
peopled  it  with  traders,  and  despoiled  it  of  its  natural 
wealth  of  furs,  giving  us  occasion  to  act  upon  the  premise 
that  "  all  is  fair  in  love  and  war."  The  congressional  con 
science  was  satisfied  by  refraining  from  passing  the  bills 
under  discussion,  while  the  utterances  put  forth  in  speeches, 
often  full  of  erroneous  statements,  served  to  keep  the  na 
tional  spirit  in  a  menacing  attitude  toward  our  British 
rival.  Joint  occupation,  where  each  nation  looked  upon 
the  other  as  an  intruder,  was  a  wholly  unsatisfactory  con 
dition,  and  fostered  in  the  people  a  feeling  of  defiance 
towards  the  rival  power  never  quite  appeased  since  the 
late  war.  In  the  meantime  it  occurred  to  religious  socie 
ties  to  send  missionaries  to  teach  the  Indians  of  Oregon, 
about  whom  very  favorable  statements  were  made  by  the 
fur  companies  dealing  with  them  concerning  their  natural 
tendencies  towards  religion.  The  appearance  in  St.  Louis 
of  four  Flatheads,  proteges  of  one  of  the  companies,  in 
1832,  and  their  demand  for  teachers,  was  the  alleged  cause 
of  the  immediate  action  of  the  Methodist  church,  and 
the  subsequent  action  of  the  Presbyterian  and  Catholic 
churches,  in  establishing  missions  in  Oregon. 

That  these  young  chiefs  should  have  traveled  two 
thousand  miles  in  search  of  spiritual  teachers  was  deemed 
so  much  more  remarkable  than  that  the  St.  Louis  company 
should  have  traveled  the  same  distance  in  search  of  furs, 
that  they  were  at  once  elevated  into  something,  if  not 
superhuman,  at  least  greatly  superbarbarian  in  character, 
and  the  country  rang  with  the  exploit.  Those  who  gave 
the  story  its  wonderful  wings  might  have  remembered  that 


in  the  history  of  all  invasions  or  explorations  of  new 
countries,  the  invaders  have  brought  back  with  them  some 
best  specimens  of  the  native  people  to  show  in  evidence  of 
something  they  wished  to  prove.  But  in  this  instance  it 
was  not  unnatural  that  these  Indians,  perceiving  that 
white  men  were  possessed  of  knowledge  and  property  above 
anything  ever  imagined  among  themselves,  should  have 
desired  to  obtain  a  clue  to  this  superiority;  nor,  since  all 
primitive  people  are  superstitious,  with  a  great  awe  of 
spiritual  influences,  that  they  should  have  inquired  con 
cerning  the  God  of  the  white  men,  and  desired  to  be  taught 
his  ways  with  his  creatures.  It  was  a  day  of  great  mission 
ary  enterprises,  and  the  call  of  the  Flatheads  was  quickly 
responded  to  by  the  organization  of  a  mission  party  of  five 
men  —  two  preachers,  Jason  and  Daniel  Lee,  from  Stan- 
stead,  Canada,  and  later  of  Wilbrahoam  seminary;  and  two 
laymen,  Cyrus  Shepard  of  Lynn,  Massachusetts,  and  Philip 
L.  Edwards  of  Richmond,  Missouri;  with,  as  a  helper, 
Courtney  M.  Walker  of  the  same  place,  engaged  for  one 
year.  These,  in  the  spring  of  1834,  joined  a  fur-hunting 
expedition  under  Nathaniel  J.  Wyeth  bound  for  the  Colum 
bia  river.  In  addition,  two  naturalists  —  Townsend  and 
Nuttall — were  attached  to  Wyeth's  party,  and  all  these, 
although  >  keeping  up  separate  organizations,  traveled 
together  with  the  St.  Louis  Fur  Company  under  William 
Sublette,  the  joint  expedition  numbering  seventy  men,  with 
two  hundred  and  fifty  horses,  and  a  small  herd  of  cattle. 

The  missionaries  did  not,  as  had  been  expected,  tarry 
among  the  Indians  upon  the  upper  Columbia.  Perhaps 
the  American  fur  companies  who  traded  with  them  did 
not  desire  it;  at  all  events  they  came  with  Wyeth  to  the 
lower  Columbia,  and  were  received  in  an  unexpectedly 
friendly  fashion  by  the  British  company  whose  head 
quarters  were  at  Vancouver,  and  who  also  politely  but 
determinedly  made  Oregon  very  uncomfortable  for  the 
Yankee  trader,  who  soon  sold  out  to  them  and  retreated 
from  the  field. 


Not  so  the  missionaries,  who  selected  ti  site  for  their 
habitation  in  the  fertile  Wallamet  valley,  and  began 
teaching  as  best  they  could  a  nomadic  race,  already  infected 
with  the  poison  of  scrofula.  The  outcome  was  what  might 
have  been  expected.  They  soon  had,  to  use  their  own 
language,  "more  children  in  the  graveyard  than  in  the 
schoolroom";  for  Indian  youth,  accustomed  to  freedom  of 
movement,  of  air,  and  a  certain  diet,  could  not  long  with 
stand  the  influence  of  unaccustomed  labor,  confinement  in 
a  crowded  house,  and  different  forms  of  food.  Besides, 
there  was  sickness  among  teachers  as  well  as  children, 
induced  by  the  malaria  arising  from  turning  up  the  rich 
soil  of  the  valley  in  opening  the  mission  farm.  In  place 
of  the  Indians,  however,  a  few  white  adventurers  found 
their  way  to  the  valley. 

Under  these  circumstances  what  should  be  done?  Go 
back  whence  they  came  and  abandon  their  undertaking? 
No;  indeed  no!  Lee  had  sent  home  such  a  report  in  the 
beginning  as  caused  the  church  to  reenforce  him  in  the 
third  year  with  a  fuller  complement  of  teachers  —  women 
—  a  physician,  and  mechanics,  who  came  by  sea.  Other 
reports  were  sent  home  of  the  beauty  and  fertility  of  the 
country,  and  the  arbitrary  demeanor  of  the  British  resi 
dents  towards  American  citizens,  which  found  .their  way 
to  Washington.  Then  came  a  government  agent  in  the 
character  of  a  private  citizen  to  confirm  these  rumors,  who 
encouraged  the  missionaries  to  found  a  colony,  and  helped 
them  to  procure  cattle  from  California  to  stock  the  grassy 
plains  of  the  Wallamet.  Following  Slacum's  report  to  the 
government  was  a  petition  gotten  up  among  the  missiona 
ries,  who  had  attached  to  their  colony  the  few  Americans 
led  by  adventure  into  the  country,  all  of  whom  signed  the 
petition  for  protection  from  the  tyranny  of  the  Hudson's 
Bay  Company,  which,  it  was  contended,  had  no  rights  the 
United  States  was  bound  to  respect  on  the  south  side  of 
the  Columbia,  where  its  dependents  had  already  seized 
upon  a  large  tract  of  fertile  prairie.  So  well  did  they  pre- 


sent  this  argument  to  the  Canadians  themselves,  that  many 
of  them  in  fear  of  losing  their  farms  signed  the  petition  to 
have  the  protection  of  the  United  States  government  ex 
tended  over  them. 

So  much  did  Jason  Lee  have  at  heart  the  colonial 
scheme  that  in  the  spring  of  1838  he  returned  to  the 
states  overland,  carrying  this  memorial;  and  so  did  he 
prevail  both  with  the  church  and  members  of  the  cabinet 
that  in  1840  a  third  reinforcement  and  a  shipload  of  goods 
and  farming  implements  arrived  for  the  mission  settle 
ments,  which  were  scattered  from  The  Dalles  to  the  mouth 
of  the  Columbia,  but  which  as  missions  were  soon  after 
abandoned,  the  incumbents  frankly  owning  the  hopeless 
ness  of  the  missionary  cause  with  the  native  population 
of  western  Oregon. 

In  1840  the  missionaries  again  petitioned  congress  to 
establish  a  territorial  government  in  Oregon.  The  mission 
colony  received  this  year  a  reinforcement  of  over  fifty 
persons,  swelling  the  whole  number  to  seventy,  and  was 
assisted  by  the  government  —  an  open  secret  then,  and 
admitted  freely  at  a  later  period.  Every  one  who  could 
be  induced  to  go  to  Oregon  at  that  time  was  encouraged, 
if  necessary,  by  financial  aid  from  the  contingent  fund; 
both  parties  to  the  boundary  controversy  feeling  that 
occupation  was  the  argument  which  must  ultimately 
settle  the  vexed  question. 

To  offset  the  mission  colony  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company 
introduced  in  1841  about  an  equal  number  of  Red-river 
people  to  the  Puget  Sound  region,  many  of  whom  subse 
quently  settled  south  of  the  Columbia.  This  year  also 
Oregon  was  visited  by  the  United  States  exploring  expedi 
tion  under  Commodore  Wilkes,  who  inspected  the  Ameri 
can  settlements,  and  was  consulted  by  the  colonists  with 
regard  to  organizing  a  provisional  government;  a  scheme 
he  disapproved  as  unnecessary.  In  the  autumn  there 
arrived  overland  a  small  company  of  actual  settlers  —  the 
first  low  wash  of  the  wave  of  immigration  which  touched 


the  shore  of  the  Pacific  Northwest,  which  was  neither  of 
the  missionary  or  adventurer  classes,  but  men  with 

To  such  straits  were  the  friends  of  Oregon  in  Washing 
ton  reduced  about  this  time  by  the  condition  of  our 
international  affairs,  that  in  the  spring  of  1842  John  G. 
Spencer,  the  then  secretary  of  war,  found  it  necessary  to 
invite  Dr.  Elijah  White,  the  first  physician  of  the  Metho 
dist  mission,  who  had  returned  to  his  home  in  Ithica,  New 
York,  to  come  to  Washington  to  answer  certain  questions; 
amongst  others  if  he  felt  competent  to  pilot  an  emigration 
to  Oregon  that  year.  For  notwithstanding  the  great 
amount  of  writing  and  public  speaking  on  the  Pacific 
territory  claimed  by  us,  and  the  prospect  of  the  passage  of 
a  very  favorable  land  bill  in  charge  of  Dr.  Linn,  senator 
from  Missouri,  who  had  taken  up  the  work  suspended  by 
Floyd's  retirement  from  congress,  no  important  movement 
of  the  people  in  the  direction  of  Oregon  had  yet  been 
made.  The  people  were  waiting  for  the  Linn  bill  to  be 
come  a  law;  and  congress  was  waiting  for  an  emigration 
movement  to  justify  such  a  law ;  for  to  legislate  for  Oregon 
while  our  northern  boundary  was  unsettled  might  compli 
cate  international  affairs.  Hence  the  appeal  to  White, 
and  the  offer  of  a  commission  from  the  government. 

White  was  of  that  happy-go-lucky  temperament  that 
nothing  ever  dismayed  —  not  even  the  reproaches  of  his 
own  conscience  —  and  although  he  had  never  crossed  the 
continent,  he  knew  those  who  had,  and  felt  himself  equal 
to  the  emergency.  He  therefore  immediately  set  about 
the  labor  of  drumming  up  a  company,  for  it  was  January, 
and  he  must  start  by  the  middle  of  May.  His  pay  as 
Indian  agent  was  only  seven  hundred  and  fifty  dollars  a 
year,  with  the  promise  of  double  that  amount  when  the 
land  bill  became  a  law,  and  permission  to  draw  upon  the 

1  It  should  perhaps  be  explained  that  these  immigrants  started  for  California  in 
Bidwell's  company,  but  turned  off  at  Fort  Hall  and  came  to  Oregon.  They  finally 
went  to  California  with  Wilkes'  overland  expedition,  as  did  also  Joel  P.  Walker  and 
his  family,  who  arrived  in  Oregon  in  1840. 


government  for  funds  to  meet  necessary  expenses.  Pocket 
ing  his  commission,  which  really  amounted  to  nothing 
except  as  a  sop  to  the  colonists  to  keep  them  loyal  and 
hopeful,  he  proceeded  westward  to  St.  Louis,  lecturing  by 
the  way,  and  writing  such  articles  for  the  newspapers  as 
was  calculated  to  engage  the  attention  of  those  persons 
already  half  minded  to  go  to  Oregon.  In  this  way  he 
drew  together  the  several  small  parties  which  constituted 
the  immigration  of  1842,  a  movement  more  important  than 
at  first  appeared,  the  fame  of  it  in  the  states  encouraging 
the  ten  times  larger  immigration  which  followed  in  1843. 
The  effect  of  it  on  the  colony  also,  together  with  the  news 
he  brought  directly  from  Washington  of  the  probable 
early  passage  of  Linn's  land  bill,  and  the  treaty  in  contem 
plation  by  which  they  expected  the  boundary  would  be 
defined,  was  to  raise  in  their  breasts  happy  anticipations 
of  a  local  government  sanctioned  and  supported  by  the 
strong  arm  of  their  common  country. 

White's  party  consisted  of  one  hundred  and  twelve  per 
sons,  fifty-two  of  whom  were  able-bodied  men,  and  ten  of 
whom  had  families.  To  these  were  added,  en  route,  several 
mountain  men  and  adventurers,  bringing  the  number  up 
to  one  hundred  and  thirty-seven.  They  traveled  with  a 
train  of  eighteen  Pennsylvania  wagons,  and  a  long  pro 
cession  of  horses,  pack  mules  and  cattle,  and  were  the  first 
openly  avowed  immigration  of  settlers  to  Oregon.  The 
wagons  and  cattle  were  left  at  Forts  Laramie  and  Hall, 
the  remainder  of  the  journey  being  performed  with  only 
pack  animals — a  mistake  due  to  Dr.  White's  ignorance  of 
the  country,  he  having  traveled  the  sea  route  to  and  from 
Oregon.  Accredited  to  this  country  as  United  States  sub- 
Indian  agent  and  government  spy,  he  professed  to  believe 
himself  the  authorized  governor  of  Oregon,  although  his 
commission  was  merely  a  verbal  one,  and  its  powers  unde 
fined.  The  colony,  however,  ignored  his  pretensions,  ex 
cept  in  so  far  as  related  to  the  office  of  United  States 
Indian  agent. 


Thus  far  no  greater  trials  had  befallen  the  Oregon  colony 
than  those  which  are  common  to  border  life.  Indeed,  they 
had  been  spared  the  great  calamity  of  most  border  com 
munities —  Indian  warfare.  For  this  immunity  there  were 
two  principal  reasons:  the  first,  that  the  nations  of  the 
whole  country  west  of  the  Rocky  mountains  were  in  a 
state  of  semi-vassalage  to  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company, 
which  required  them  to  live  in  peace,  and  was  generally 
able  to  control  them;  the  second,  that  the  Indians  of  the 
lower  Columbia  and  Wallamet  valleys  were  so  weakened 
by  disease  as  to  have  lost  their  warlike  character.  That 
there  were  strong  and  hostile  tribes  to  the  south,  east,  and 
north,  among  whom  even  the  powerful  British  company 
was  forced  to  live  in  forts,  was  true,  but  they  usually  con 
fined  their  hostilities  to  strangers  passing  through  their 
country,  and  did  not  go  abroad  to  attack  others  unless 
they  had  some  injury,  real  or  imagined,  to  avenge.  Thus, 
although  sometimes  alarmed  by  insignificant  quarrels 
amongst  them,  occasioned  by  theft  or  by  indulgence  in 
strong  drink  furnished  by  Americans — to  their  shame  be 
it  said  —  the  Indians  in  the  vicinity  of  the  missions  were, 
if  worthless,  at  least  peaceable. 

To  preserve  this  peace  the  fur  company  and  the  mis 
sionaries  united  in  the  purchase  and  destruction  of  a  dis 
tillery  and  organized  a  temperance  society,  which  was 
joined  by  a  majority  of  the  inhabitants  irrespective  of 
nationality,  and  to  this  influence  without  doubt  was  owing 
the  immunity  from  Indian  warfare  enjoyed  by  the  earliest 
settlers  of  the  Wallamet  valley.  There  were  .not  lacking, 
however,  examples  of  savage  manners  sufficiently  brutal 
and  explicit  to  cause  occasional  shudderings  among  the 
handful  of  white  intruders  in  their  midst.  Hardly  was  the 
mission  established  in  the  Wallamet  valley  when  the  bach 
elor  housekeepers  were  startled  by  the  appearance  of  a 
large  and  powerful  white  man,  ill-clad,  and  accompanied 
by  an  Indian  woman,  descending  the  river  on  a  raft,  who 
landed  and  solicited  succor.  It  proved  to  be  John  Turner, 

THL    CAYUSE  WAR.  11 

a  man  afterwards  famed  among  the  settlers  fur  qualities 
not  thought  necessary  to  Christian  endeavor,  though  he 
counted  as  an  American,  and  no  one  esteemed  his  enor 
mous  strength  as  worthless  in  a  young  community  sur 
rounded  by  possible  dangers. 

Turner  had  a  story  to  relate  which  engaged  the  sympa 
thies  of  his  entertainers.  This  was  not  his  first  appearance 
in  Oregon.  Five  years  previous  he  had  been  a  member  of 
a  party  under  Jedediah  Smith  of  the  Rocky  Mountain 
Fur  Company,  who  was  approaching  the  Wallarnet  valley 
via  the  coast  route  from  California,  when  at  the  crossing 
of  the  Umpqua  near  where  Scottsburg  now  stands,  while 
looking  for  a  fording  place  for  the  pack  animals,  the  party 
was  attacked  and  nine  men  out  of  thirteen  killed,  Smith 
losing  twenty  thousand  dollars  worth  of  furs  and  all  his 
horses  and  other  property.  Smith  himself  escaped  with 
one  man,  being  on  a  raft  in  the  river  when  the  attack  on 
the  camp  was  made,  and  reached  Fort  Vancouver  in  a  suf 
fering  condition,  where  he  wintered,  being  kindly  cared 
for  by  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company.  A  strong  party  was 
sent  by  the  company  to  punish  the  Umpquas  and  retake 
the  furs,  which  the  company  purchased,  sending  Smith 
back  to  the  Rocky  mountains  after  his  associates  had  de 
spaired  of  ever  seeing  him  again. 

Of  two  other  men  who  escaped,  Turner  was  one.  He 
defended  himself  with  a  burning  poplar  stick  snatched 
from  the  fire,  his  enormous  strength  enabling  him  to  fell 
his  assailants  as  he  retreated,  until  finally  he  eluded  them, 
fleeing  to  the  mountains  alone,  and  reaching  Vancouver 
in  a  wretched  state  during  the  winter.  The  fourth  man, 
named  Black,  also  gained  that  asylum  by  the  aid  of  some 
friendly  Indians  whom  he  met  further  north. 

Turner's  second  adventure  in  entering  Oregon  was  with 
the  Indians  at  the  crossing  of  Rogue  river,  and  was  simi 
lar  to  the  first.  The  party  consisted  of  eight  men,  four  of 
whom  were  killed.  Turner's  arrival  at  the  mission  was 
the  occasion  of  great  excitement,  and  the  appearance  of 


others  was  anxiously  looked  for.  After  several  days 
George  Gay,  and  William  J.  Bailey,  who  became  promi 
nent  among  the  first  settlers  of  Oregon,  were  discovered 
on  the  bank  of  the  Wallamet,  opposite  the  mission,  con 
templating  it  with  an  earnest  attention,  as  we  may  readily 
understand.  Finally  one  of  them,  Bailey,  plunged  in  and 
attempted  to  swim  across,  but  being  weak  from  wounds 
and  famine,  was  about  to  perish  in  the  strong  current, 
when  his  companion  sprang  to  his  rescue,  sustaining  him 
until  a  canoe  put  out  from  the  opposite  shore  to  the  relief 
of  both. 

Bailey  was  frightfully  wounded.  One  cut  extended 
through  the  upper  lip  just  below  the  nose,  and  through 
the  upper  and  lower  jaws  and  chin,  passing  into  the  side 
of  the  neck,  only  narrowly  missing  the  jugular  vein. 
Unable  from  the  terrible  pain  to  properly  adjust  the  parts, 
he  had  simply  bound  them  together  with  a  handkerchief, 
from  which  neglect  in  healing  they  left  his  face  distorted 
to  an  unsightly  degree.  He  was  placed  in  the  hospital  at 
Vancouver,  where  his  numerous  other  injuries  were  at 
tended  to,  and  afterwards,  being  bred  a  surgeon,  he  prac 
ticed  medicine  and  surgery  among  the  colonists.  The 
fourth  man  missed  the  settlements,  and  reached  Wyeth's 
fort  on  Sauve's  island,  more  dead  than  alive,  and  was 
kindly  cared  for. 

When  the  cattle  company  was  sent  to  California  to  pur 
chase  stock  for  the  mission  and  settlers  in  1837,  Ewing 
Young,  a  prominent  American,  was  placed  in  command, 
and  P.  L.  Edwards  of  the  mission  made  treasurer.  Tur 
ner,  Gay,  and  Bailey  were  of  the  company,  and  as  they 
approached  the  scene  of  their  loss  and  suffering  of  two 
years  before,  with  the  precious  herd,  it  became  evident 
there  would  be  trouble.  The  Indians  would  endeavor  to 
secure  some  of  the  cattle;  but  even  if  thev  did  not,  Turner, 
Gay,  and  Bailey  were  longing  for  vengeance,  and  uttering 
threats  against  the  Rogue  river  Indians.  Four  days  before 
reaching  Rogue  river,  Gay  and  Bailey  shot  an  Indian  who 


entered  their  camp,  and  threatened  another  one,  a  mere 

The  only  justification  offered  was  that  they  had  before 
suffered  by  allowing  Indians  to  approach  them  in  camp. 
But  the  act  was  none  the  less  imprudent  as  it  was  im 
moral;  for  it  invited  retaliation,  and  compelled  Young  to 
double  the  guard  and  to  use  extreme  caution  in  passing 
points  where  an  ambush  was  possible.  On  reaching  the 
locality  made  memorable  by  the  attack  on  their  party  in 
1835,  they  were  assailed  by  a  cloud  of  arrows  discharged 
upon  them  with  deafening  yells.  Young's  horse  was  shot 
twice,  and  Gay  was  again  wounded.  The  guns  of  the 
white  men  were,  however,  more  than  a  match  for  Indian 
arrows;  and  after  a  skirmish  the  savages  retired  to  trouble 
them  no  more.  The  truth  of  history  requires  that  the 
brutal  act,  of  the  superior  race  shall  be  recorded  as  well  as 
those  of  the  inferior,  as  by  them  we  are  able  to  form  our 
judgment  of  both. 

In  March,  1838,  Jason  Lee  and  Gustavus  Hines  made 
an  excursion  to  the  Umpqua  valley  in  the  vicinity  of  one 
of  the  forts  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  in  charge  of 
one  Gagnier,  with  a  view  to  a  mission  in  that  quarter;  but 
found  the  natives  so  wild  and  threatening  in  their  disposi 
tion  that  despite  the  attractions  of  the  country  for  coloni 
zation  they  gave  an  adverse  report.  Mr.  Hines,  in  his 
History  of  Oregon,  relates  that  Mr.  Lee  had  brought  a 
fowling-piece  with  him,  and  a  patent  shot  pouch.  This 
latter  thing  alarmed  the  chief,  who  happened  to  be  at  the 
fort,  and  he  informed  his  people  that  Lee  had  brought 
medicine  in  a  bag  which  he  wore  around  his  neck  with 
which  he  intended  to  kill  them  all  off.  Gagnier  sent  his 
Umpqua  wife  with  the  missionaries  to  explain  matters  to 
the  Indians,  who  with  customary  readiness  avowed  their 
intention  to  become  Christians  at  once.  Appearances  were, 
however,  so  much  against  them  that  no  efforts  were  made 
in  that  direction;  and  subsequent  events  justified  this 
unfavorable  judgment. 


Trouble  was  sometimes  had  with  the  Indians  at  The 
Dalles,  who  were  a  roguish  and  impertinent  set  of  rascals, 
playing  thieving  tricks  upon  persons  having  to  pass  their 
way,  and  exacting  double  pay  for  any  services  when  they 
had  made  these  services  indispensable  by  their  own  acts; 
but  so  far  they  had  been  held  in  check  by  the  influence  of 
the  resident  fur  company. 

It  was  among  these  that  Daniel  Lee  and  H.  K.  W.  Per 
kins  attempted  missionary  work  in  1838,  which  they  con 
tinued  with  little  success  for  four  or  five  years.  At  one 
time  they  sent  east  glowing  accounts  of  congregations  of 
several  hundred  Indians  and  numerous  conversions.  But 
they  had  not  made  allowance  for  the  shrewdness  of  the 
savage,  nor  for  his  cupidity  and  literalness.  When  Per 
kins  was  solicited  by  one  of  his  neophytes  for  a  coat,  he 
said  to  him,  "You  must  work  and  earn  one";  whereupon 
the  innocent  replied,  "You  told  me  if  I  became  converted 
and  prayed  for  what  I  wanted  I  should  get  it.  If  it  is 
work  only  that  will  bring  a  coat,  I  can  get  one  any  time 
of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company."  They  often  demanded 
pay  for  praying, —  or  on  receiving  some  great  favor  de 
clared  their  ''hearts  were  full  of  pray."  It  did  not  take 
them  long  to  discover  that  supplication  was  not  always 
rewarded  with  their  heart's  desire  in  other  matters.  On 
the  death  of  a  chief,  one  of  Lee  and  Perkins'  converts 
asked  sorrowfully,  "What  is  the  good  of  prayer?  Our 
chief  prayed,  and  now  he  is  dead?"  Lee  himself  was 
forced  to  purchase  immunity  from  theft  by  valuable  gifts. 
Refusing  to  pay  an  indemnity  for  a  boy  who  died  after 
being  in  his  service,  the  mission  horses  were  stolen.  They 
resented  not  being  allowed  to  avenge  the  murder  of  their 
relatives,  and  put  on  airs  of  equality  with  their  teachers, 
demanding  a  visit  of  ceremony  from  the  superintendent, 
such  as  the  missionaries  received. 

Such  conduct  would  not  be  permitted  by  the  officers  of 
the  Hudson's  Bay  Company,  and  the  Indians  judged  the 
missionaries  accordingly.  That  there  was  danger  in  it  the 
missionaries  saw,  but  knew  no  way,  as  peace  men,  to  avert  it. 


W.  W.  Kone  and  J.  H.  Frost  of  the  latest  Methodist  re- 
enforcement  were  sent  to  the  mouth  of  the  Columbia,  and 
settled  on  the  Clatsop  plains.  Here  the  degradation  of  the 
natives  was  such  that  the  spirits  of  the  missionaries  re 
volted.  It  was  bad  enough  at  The  Dalles,  where  Mrs. 
Perkins  had  interfered  to  prevent  an  Indian  boy  slave 
from  being  bound  to  the  corpse  of  his  master,  to  die  of 
horror,  in  order  that  he  might  accompany  the  chief  to  the 
spirit  world — memelose  illahee.  But  at  Clatsop  the  Indians 
were,  in  addition  to  the  degradation  of  superstitions, 
utterly  corrupted.  Frost  relates  that  the  health  of  the 
people  was  destroyed  by  syphilis,  and  their  number  rapidly 
decreasing.  In  addition,  infanticide  was  common.  When 
Mrs.  Frost  asked  the  Indian  women  why  they  killed  their 
children,  they  answered  that  they  could  not  take  care  of 
them  and  perform  besides  all  the  labor  exacted  of  them 
by  their  husbands,  who  beat  them  if  they  failed.  Like 
the  interior  tribes,  they  were  ready  enough  to  be  converted 
if  there  was  anything  to  be  gained  by  it,  and  their  excit 
able  natures  found  relief  in  the  exercises  of  an  animated 
prayer  meeting,  with  singing,  of  which  they  were  fond ;  as 
their  ill-clad  and  ill-fed  bodies  found  comfort  in  the  forced 
hospitality  of  the  mission  house,  the  floor  of  which  was 
often  at  night  covered  with  the  poor  wretches. 

These  Indians  were  not  much  feared.  It  was  true  they 
sometimes  committed  a  murder,  but  so  do  white  men;  and 
the  crime  was  promptly  punished  in  their  case  by  the  fur 
company.  Had  they  not  been  held  in  dread  of  hanging, 
it  might  have  been  worse  for  their  teachers. 

In  1842  a  mission  site  selected  in  the  vicinity  of  Puget 
Sound  and  Fort  Nisqualiy  the  previous  year,  was  aban 
doned,  and  the  missionary,  J.  P.  Richmond,  returned  east. 
The  Indians  in  the  region  were  more  warlike  than  those 
on  the  Columbia,  but  the  reason  given  for  leaving  the 
country  was  that  it  was  not  fit  for  farming. 

From  all  these  facts,  selected  only  to  show  the  condition 
of  Oregon  west  of  the  Cascades  when  the  first  immigration 
arrived,  the  following  conclusions  may  be  drawn:— 


First.  That  the  United  States,  while  refraining  from 
openly  violating  treaty  obligations,  was  encouraging  the 
people  of  the  older  communities  to  possess  themselves  of 
the  Oregon  territory,  and  hold  it  for  the  government,  or  at 
least  to  maintain  the  balance  of  power  between  itself  and 
the  English  government. 

Second.  That  the  reports  sent  at  every  opportunity  by 
missionaries  in  western  Oregon  served  to  keep  up  that 
interest  among  the  people  first  awakened  in  congress  by 
discussions  of  the  boundary  question ;  that  their  presence 
in  Oregon  enabled  agents  of  the  government  to  aid  colon 
ization;  and  that  the  government  did  secretly  aid  the 
settlement  of  the  country  through  the  missions  of  western 

Third.  That  the  position  of  the  mission  settlements  but 
for  the  presence  of  the  powerful  British  fur  company  would 
have  been  most  dangerous,  and  have  required  the  estab 
lishment  of  military  stations  in  various  parts  of  the  country; 
and  that  in  its  own  interest  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company 
must  have  protected  the  American  settlers  in  order  to  keep 
the  Indians  under  control. 

Fourth.  That  the  missionaries  of  western  Oregon  were 
not  successful  as  religious  teachers ;  but  were  not  averse  to 
becoming  settlers,  and  were  active  in  keeping  alive  the 
rivalry  between  the  two  governments  by  frequently  memo 
rializing  congress  upon  what  they  named  the  aggressions 
of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company;  and  by  setting  forth  their 
own  loyalty  to  the  government  of  the  United  States,  and 
their  desire  to  have  it  extended  over  them. 

Fifth.  That  the  arrival  of  White's  party  marked  the 
close  of  active  missionary  effort,  and  inaugurated  that  of 
open  colonization  by  the  people  of  the  United  States; 
hence,  that  to  the  Methodist  missionaries  and  their  friends 
in  Washington  and  elsewhere  was  due  the  Americanization 
of  the  Wallamet  valley,  and  the  inaugural  movement 
towards  a  provisional  government  in  Oregon,  with  all 
that  it  implied. 



BESIDES  the  Methodist  missions,  there  were  north  of  the 
Columbia  river  and  east  of  the  Cascades  mountains  several 
Presbyterian  missions,  founded  in  1836,  1837,  and  1838. 
These  were  under  the  superintendency  of  Dr.  Marcus 
Whitman,  and  supported  by  the  American  board  of  com 
missioners  for  foreign  missions.  Dr.  Whitman  was  settled 
among  the  Cayuses  in  the  Walla  Walla  valley,  twenty-five 
miles  from  Fort  Walla  Walla  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Com 
pany.  Rev.  H.  H.  Spalding  was  stationed  among  the  Nez 
Perces,  eighty  miles  east  of  the  superintendent,  on  the 
Clearwater  river,  at  a  place  called  Lapwai;  and  a  third 
station  on  a  branch  of  the  Spokane  river,  about  forty 
miles  from  Fort  Colville  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company, 
was  in  charge  of  Elkanah  Walker  and  Gushing  Eells,  who 
had  charge  of  the  Spokane  Indians.  A  fourth  station  was 
selected  among  the  upper  Nez  Perces,  about  sixty  miles 
northeast  of  Lapwai,  which  was  put  in  charge  of  A.  B. 
Smith.  Each  of  these  missionaries  had  a  wife,  who  assisted 
him  in  teaching.  There  was,  besides,  a  lay  member,  also 
married,  attached  to  the  missions  from  the  first — >W.  H. 
Gray,  whose  work  on  the  early  history  of  Oregon  is  well 
known;  also  an  unmarried  man,  Cornelius  Rogers;  and 


from  time  to  time  several  independent  missionaries  gave 
temporary  aid  to  these  widely  scattered  missions. 

Unlike  the  Methodists,  the  Presbyterians  abstained  from 
politics,  and  had  no  complaints  to  make  to  the  home  gov 
ernment  of  the  tyranny  and  aggressions  of  the  Hudson's 
Bay  Company;  or,  if  they  ever  felt  in  any  way  aggrieved, 
it  does  not  appear  in  their  correspondence  with  the  home 
board.  They  had  a  different  class  of  Indians  to  deal  with 
from  those  in  the  Wallamet  and  lower  Columbia  valleys — 
more  intelligent,  more  imperious,  and  for  both  these  rea- 

Isons,  more  dangerous  as  well  as  more  interesting.  To  keep 
the  peace  with  the  Cayuses  had  on  some  occasions  required 
all  the  tact  and  influence  of  the  fur  company. 

Allied  to  them  were  the  Walla  Wallas  and  the  Nez 
Perces,  the  latter  being  a  large  and  powerful  tribe,  of  a 
better  temper  than  their  more  southern  relatives,  who 
boasted  of  their  compact  of  friendship  with  Lewis  and 
Clarke,  and  of  having  always  kept  it. 

In  1835  Rev.  Samuel  Parker  of  Ithaca,  New  York,  and 
Dr.  Marcus  Whitman  traveled  together  to  the  Rocky 
mountains,  escorted  by  the  American  Fur  Company,  where, 
meeting  the  Flatheads  and  Nez  Perces,  they  became  con 
vinced  of  their  desire  for  teachers,  and  Whitman  returned 
to  the  states  to  bring  out  assistants,  only  finding,  however, 
Miss  Narcissa  Prentiss  of  Prattsburg,  New  York,  whom  he 
.married,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Spalding,  and  Mr.  Gray,  who  could 
be  induced  to  join  him  at  that  time,  and  who  journeyed 
with  him  to  the  Columbia  river  in  1836,  where  they  were 
received  literally  with  open  arms1  by  the  gentlemen  of  the 
Hudson's  Bay  Company  at  Fort  Walla  Walla  and  Fort 
Vancouver,  their  unconscious  heroism  in  undertaking  a 
land  journey  of  thousands  of  miles,  in  company  with 
mountain  men,  to  live  among  savages  in  order  to  teach 
them,  being  appreciated  by  these  gentlemen  as  it  was  not 
at  that^time  by  the  missionaries  themselves. 

1  Mrs.  Whitman  wrote  her  mother  that  Mr.  Pambrun,  then  in  charge  of  Fort 
Walla  Walla,  lifted  her  from  her  saddle  with  the  tenderness  of  a  father. 


Before  proceeding  with  this  history,  it  might  be  well  to 
inquire  into  the  characteristics  of  the  people  concerned  in 
it  previous  to  the  introduction  of  Protestantism  among 
them,  because  it  would  be  unjust  to  both  parties  to  rep 
resent  the  Indians  as  in  a  wholly  untaught  state  when  the 
missionaries  of  the  Presbyterian  church  came  among  them. 
On  the  contrary  they  had  what  might  be  called  a  national 

Recent  writers  have  seldom  made  sufficient  distinction 
between  the  Flatheads  and  the  Nez  Perces.  From  Lewis 
and  Clarke  we  learn  that  they  were  originally  the  same 
people,  although  their  dialect  had  come  to  differ,  as 
well  as  their  habits.  The  Flatheads  lived  in  the  Bitter 
Root  valley,  and  occupied  the  country  northwest  and 
westward  to  the  Blackfoot  river.  Their  territory  shaded 
off  into  the  Nez  Perces  country,  and  they  very  much 
resembled  the  upper  Nez  Perces.  Both  received  stran 
gers  cordially,  when  satisfied  they  were  not  foes;  but 
while  the  Flatheads  were  brave,  determined,  and  honest, 
the  Nez  Percys  were  of  a  weaker  character,  and  would 
steal  and  beg.  In  dress,  they  resembled  each  other.  The 
men  wore  buffalo  or  elk-skin  robes,  ornamented  with  beads. 
Bits  of  sea  shells,  chiefly  mother  of  pearl,  were  worn  at 
tached  to  an  otter-skin  collar,  and  hung  in  the  hair,  which 
was  plaited  in  two  braids  falling  in  front.  They  also  wore 
feathers  in  the  hair,  and  used  paint  .of  several  colors  on 
their  persons.  The  women  wore  a  skirt  of  ibex-skin 
reaching  to  their  ankles,  and  festooned  with  shells  and 
other  ornaments,  but  did  not  wear  ornaments  on  the  head. 
As  to  food,  the  Nez  Perces  were  very  poor,  and  very  much 
disinclined  to  part  with  a  morsel.  Nevertheless,  such  was 
their  love  of  ornaments,  that  by  selling  the  buttons  off 
their  coats,  empty  medicine  phials,  and  empty  boxes,  the 
first  explorers  were  able  to  purchase  a  scanty  supply  of 
provisions  from  them. 

Lewis  and  Clarke,  on  coming  among  the  Cayuses,  found 
them  famishing,  so  that  they  greedily  picked  the  bones 


and  ate  the  refuse  meat  thrown  away  by  Lewis  and  Clarke's 
party.  They  were  also  despicable  beggars.  Captain  Bonne- 
ville,  of  a  later  date,  relates  an  anecdote  of  being  enter 
tained  by  a  Cay  use  chief,  who  presented  him  with  a 
handsome  horse,  for  which  he  returned  a  rifle,  thinking 
the  chief  well  paid.  But  the  donor  of  the  horse  brought 
his  wrinkled  old  wife  with,  "This  is  my  wife  —  she  is  a 
good  wife  —  I  love  her  very  much  —  she  loves  the  horse  a 
great  deal  —  will  cry  to  lose  him — I  do  not  know  how  I 
shall  comfort  her  —  that  makes  my  heart  sore."  The  cap 
tain  remembered  some  ear-bobs,  and  made  the  old  dame 
young  with  delight.  The  chief  then  brought  his  son,  "A 
very  good  son  —  a  great  horseman  —  he  took  care  of  the 
fine  horse — he  loves  him  like  a  brother  —  his  heart  will 
be  heavy  when  he  leaves  the  camp."  Again  the  captain 
bethought  himself  of  a  hatchet  to  reward  the  youth's  vir 
tues.  Then  the  chief,  "This  rifle  shall  be  my  great  medi 
cine — I  will  hug  it  to  my  heart,  and  love  it  for  the  sake  of 
my  friend,  the  bald-headed  chief.  But  a  rifle  by  itself  is 
dumb — I  cannot  make  it  speak.  If  I  had  a  little  powder 
and  ball  I  would  take  it  out  with  me,  and  would  now  and 
then  shoot  a  deer;  and  when  I  brought  it  home  to  my 
happy  family  I  would  say,  'This  was  killed  by  the  rifle  of 
my  friend,  the  bald-headed  chief,  to  whom  I  gave  that  fine 
horse.'"  It  is  unnecessary  to  add  that  the  captain,  after 
handing  over  powder  and  ball,  fled. 

Speaking  of  the  moral  characteristics  of  the  Flatheads 
and  ISIez  Perces,  Bonneville  says  that  they  exhibited  strong 
and  peculiar  feelings  of  natural  religion,  and  that  it  was 
"not  a  mere  superstitious  fear  like  that  of  most  savages  — 
they  evince  abstract  notions  of  morality,  a  deep  reverence 
for  an  over-ruling  spirit,  and  a  respect  for  the  rights  of 
their  fellow  men.  They  (the  Flatheads)  hold  that  the 
Great  Spirit  is  displeased  with  all  nations  who  wantonly 
engage  in  war;  they  abstain  from  all  aggressive  hostilities. 
But  though,  thus  unoffending  in  their  policy,  they  are 
called  upon  continually  to  wage  defensive  warfare,  espe- 

THE   CAY  USE  WAR.  21 

cially  with  the  Blackfeet,  with  whom,  in  the  course  of  their 
hunting  expeditions,  they  coine  in  frequent  collision,  and 
have  desperate  battles.  Their  conduct  as  warriors  is  with 
out  fear  or  reproach,  and  they  never  can  be  driven  to 
abandon  their  hunting  grounds."  He  added  that  they 
believed  in  dreams,  charms,  and  a  charmed  life. 

In  spite  of  their  opposition  to  wanton  warfare,  they  were 
not  averse  to  some  practice  in  the  art  of  war.  "War," 
they  said,  "is -a  bloody  business,  and  full  of  evil,  but  it 
keeps  the  eyes  of  the  chiefs  always  open,  and  makes  the 
limbs  of  the  young  men  strong  and  supple.  In  war,  every 
one  is  on  the  alert.  If  we  see  a  trail  we  know  it  must  be 
an  enemy;  if  the  Blackfeet  come  to  us  we  know  it  is  for 
war,  and  we  are  ready.  Peace,  on  the  other  hand,  sounds 
no  alarm;  the  eyes  of  the  chiefs  are  closed  in  sleep,  and 
the  young  men  are  sleek  and  lazy.  The  horses  stray  into 
the  mountains;  the  women  and  their  little  babes  go  about 
alone.  But  the  heart  of  a  Blackfoot  is  a  lie,  and  his  tongue 
is  a  trap.  If  he  says  peace,  it  is  to  deceive.  He  comes  as 
a  brother:  he  smokes  his  pipe  with  us;  but  when  he  sees 
us  weak  and  off  our  guard,  he  will  slay  and  steal.  We 
will  have  no  such  peace;  let  there  be  war!" 

Wyeth  gave  the  Flatheads  equal,  or  even  greater  praise, 
saying  he  had  never  known  an  instance  of  theft  among 
them,  neither  quarreling  nor  lying;  that  they  were  brave 
when  put  to  the  test,  and  more  than  a  match  for  the 
Blackfeet.  What  is  here  said  of  the  moral  character  of 
the  Flatheads,  applied,  with  the  exception  already  made, 
to  the  Nez  Perces;  especially  to  the  upper  division  of  that 
tribe.  Concerning  the  religious  feeling  of  these  Indians, 
the  early  American  traders  remarked  upon  their  observ 
ance  of  the  Sabbath,  to  which  Bonneville  adds:  "We  must 
observe,  however,  in  qualification  of  the  sanctity  of  the 
Sabbath  in  the  wilderness,  that  these  tribes,  who  are  all 
ardently  addicted  to  gambling  and  horse-racing,  make 
Sunday  a  peculiar  day  for  recreations  of  this  kind,  not 
deeming  them  in  any  way  out  of  season." 


This  Sabbath  observance,  and  other  religious  forms 
greatly  surprised  travelers  among  these  tribes,  namely,  the 
Flatheads,  Nez  Perces,  and  Cay  uses.  Dr.  Parker  found  in 
it  a  mystery  also.  But  the  explanation  is  simple.  Says 
Bonneville:  "  Mr.  Pambrun  informed  me  that  he  had  been 
at  some  pains  to  introduce  the  Christian  religion,  in  the 
Roman  Catholic  form,  among  them,  where  it  had  evidently 
taken  root,  but  had  become  altered  and  modified  to  suit 
their  peculiar  habits  of  thought,  and  motives  of  action, 
retaining,  however,  the  principal  points  of  faith,  and  its 
entire  precepts  of  morality.  The  same  gentleman  had 
given  to  them  a  code  of  laws,  to  which  they  conformed 
with  scrupulous  fidelity.  Polygamy,  which  once  prevailed 
among  them  to  a  great  extent,  was  now  rarely  indulged  in. 
All  the  crimes  denounced  by  the  Christian  faith  met  with 
severe  punishment.  Even  theft,  so  venial  a  crime  among 
the  Indians,  had  recently  been  punished  with  hanging,  by 
sentence  of  a  chief." 

Bonneville,  speaking  of  the  Cayuses,  says:  "They  will 
not  raise  their  camp  on  that  day,  unless  in  extreme  cases 
of  danger  or  hunger;  neither  will  they  hunt,  nor  fish,  nor 
trade,  nor  perform  any  kind  of  labor  on  that  day.  A  part 
of  it  is  passed  in  prayer  and  religious  ceremonies.  Some 
chief,  who  is  at  the  same  time  what  is  called  a  medicine 
man,  assembles  the  community.  After  invoking  blessings 
from  the  Deity,  he  addresses  the  assemblage,  exhorting 
them  to  good  conduct;  to  be  diligent  in  providing  for 
their  families;  to  abstain  from  lying  and  stealing;  to  avoid 
quarreling  or  cheating  in  their  play,  and  to  be  just  and 
hospitable  to  all  strangers  who  may  be  among  them. 
Prayers  and  exhortations  are  also  made  early  in  the  morn 
ing  on  week  days.2  Sometimes  all  this  is  done  by  the 
chief  from  horseback,  moving  slowly  about  the  camp  with 
his  hat  on,  and  uttering  his  exhortations  with  aloud  voice. 

-Farnham,  in  his  Travels,  speaks  admiringly  of  these  morning  devotions  as  he 
saw  them  practiced  near  Whitman's  station  in  1839;  but  he  took  it  for  granted  that 
it  came  from  the  teachings  of  the  missionaries  at  that  station. 

THE   CAY  USE  WAR.  23 

On  all  occasions  the  bystanders  listen  with  profound  atten 
tion,  and  at  the  end  of  every  sentence  respond  one  word  in 
unison,  apparently  equivalent  to  an  'amen.'  While  these 
prayers  or  exhortations  are  going  on,  every  employment  in 
the  camp  is  suspended.  If  an  Indian  is  riding  by  the 
place,  he  dismounts,  holds  his  horse,  and  attends  with 
reverence  until  all  is  done.  When  the  chief  has  finished 
his  prayer  or  exhortation,  he  says  'I  have  done/  upon 
which  there  is  a  general  exclamation  in  unison."  He 
says  further:  "Besides  Sunday,  they  observe  all  the  car 
dinal  holidays  of  the  Roman  Catholic  church,"  but  that 
with  them  they  mixed  some  of  their  pagan  ceremonials, 
such  as  dancing  and  singing. 

Townsend,  in  his  Narrative,  expresses  much  interest  in 
these  Indians  on  account  of  their  desire  for  instruction  in 
religious  matters,  and  evidently  is  at  a  loss  to  discover  the 
motive  —  for  to  ascribe  a  spiritual  motive  to  the  savage 
would  be  childish.  The  greater  intelligence  of  a  few 
tribes  of  Indians  is  difficult  to  account  for,  especially  when 
in  contact  with  degenerate  tribes  like  the  Walla  Wallas 
and  the  Indians  of  the  Columbia.  But  their  motive  in 
adopting  any  innovation  is  the  same  as  the  white  man's. 
It  is  because  it  is  to  his  material  advantage.  When  it- 
ceases  to  be  that,  there  is  danger  of  a  too  sudden  and 
serious  revolt. 

It  was  impossible  that  the  missionaries  should  under 
stand  at  once  how  to  deal  with  a  people  so  different  from 
any  of  whom  they  had  any  experience.  For  the  first  year 
all  was  smooth  sailing.  The  Indians  at  Whitman's  and 
Spalding's  stations  were  pleased  with  the  idea  of  becoming 
wise  like  their  teachers.  But  it  was  not  long  before  they 
found  they  had  not  understood  each  other.  The  mission 
aries  had  to  work,  and  wanted  the  Indians  to  do  so;  but 
the  masculine  side  of  savagery  scorns  work,  leaving  it  to 
his  female  relatives.  The  gentlemen  of  the  Hudson's  Bay 
Company  did  not  labor.  Naturally  their  savage  serfs  en 
tertained  contempt  for  white  men  who  condescended  to 


do  what  servants  ought  to  do,  and  were  not  able  to  make 
allowance  for  the  poverty  of  missionary  societies. 

An  indiscreet  remark  of  Dr.  Parker's  on  his  visit  to 
them  was  also  the  occasion  of  much  trouble.  Dr.  Parker, 
they  said,  had  told  them  that  their  land  should  not  be 
taken  for  nothing,  but  that  they  should  be  paid  annually 
in  goods  and  agricultural  implements,  that  being  "the 
American  fashion." 

A  year  had  not  elapsed  before  a  chief  known  as  Splitted 
Lip  ordered  Dr.  Whitman  off  the  land  he  had  taken  to 
cultivate  on  the  Walla  Walla  river,  because  he  had  not 
paid  for  it.  In  1838,  the  same  chief  threatened  the  doctor 
with  death  should  he  fail  to  cure  his  wife,  whom  he  was 
treating  for  some  sickness.  It  would  seem  that  Dr.  Whit 
man  thought  these  threats  idle,  or  that  the  protection  of 
the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  would  suffice,  for  he  went  on 
teaching,  assisted  by  Mrs.  Whitman,  and  at  the  same  time 
improving  his  farm. 

In  the  autumn  of  that  year  Gray's  return  from  the 
states,  whither  he  had  gone  to  procure  more  workers  for 
the  missionary  field,  having  with  him  a  wife  and  seven 
other  persons,  men  and  women, —  a  small  company,  indeed, 
—  was  the  occasion  of  fresh  trouble. 

When  Gray  started  for  the  states  in  1837  he  took  with 
him  a  band  of  Indian  horses  to  exchange  for  cattle,  which 
were  much  needed.  To  aid  him  Mr.  Spalding  persuaded 
three  young  chiefs  of  the  upper  Nez  Perces  to  accompany 
him,  namely,  Ellis,  Blue  Cloak,  and  Hat.  By  ,the  time 
they  had  reached  the  rendezvous  of  the  fur  companies  on 
Green  river,  their  horses'  feet  had  begun  to  fail,  and  two  of 
them  turned  back,  Hat  only  continuing  on.  When  Ellis 
and  Blue  Cloak  presented  themselves  at  Lapwai  mission. 
Mr.  Spalding,  who  was  an  excitable  man  and  felt  much 
anxiety  for  the  success  of  the  expedition,  reproached  the 
young  chiefs  severely,  and  declared  they  deserved  punish 
ment  for  breaking  their  contract,  and  leaving  Gray  in  the 
middle  of  his  journey  with  insufficient  help. 


It  was  the  custom  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  when 
the  Indians  committed  any  offense  not  amounting  to  a  seri 
ous  crime,  to  demand  pay  for  it;  or,  if  pay  was  not  forth 
coming,  to  require  their  chiefs  to  have  them  whipped  — 
the  culprits  receiving  their  chastisement  with  little  sense 
of  degradation.  This  custom  was  adopted,  it  would  seem, 
by  Mr.  Spalding,  who  assessed  the  delinquents  a  horse 
each  for  their  breach  of  faith,  which  was  refused. 

Ellis,  who  had  a  large  following,  was  able  to  avoid  the 
penalty  imposed  on  him,  no  one  venturing  to  arrest  him. 
Blue  Cloak,  however,  one  evening  appeared  at  prayer  meet 
ing  unattended,  when  Mr.  Spalding  ordered  some  Indian 
pupils  present  to  take  and  tie  him.  No  one  obeying,  at 
last  a  young  Nez  Perces  chief  arose  in  wrath,  seized  Blue 
Cloak,  bound  him,  and  turning  to  Spalding  said,  "  Now 
whip  him."  "No,"  said  Spalding,  "I  do  not  whip;  I  com 
mand:  God  does  not  whip,  he  commands."  "You  are  a 
liar,"  returned  the  young  chief  indignantly.  "Look  at 
your  picture  (a  water-color  sketch  hanging  on  the  wall, 
designed  by  Mrs.  Spalding  to  illustrate  bible  teachings). 
You  have  there  painted  two  men,  and  God  behind  them 
with  a  bundle  of  rods  to  whip  them.  Whip  him,  or  we 
will  put  you  in  his  place  and  whip  you."  Mr.  Spalding 
yielded,  punished  Blue  Cloak,  and  received  the  horse  he 
had  exacted,  which  discipline  restored  quiet  for  a  time. 

In  1838,  when  Gray  returned  from  the  states,  and  it  was 
learned  that  Hat,  the  chief  who  had  accompanied  him, 
had  perished,  together  with  four  other  Indians,  in  an 
attack  made  upon  Gray's  party  by  the  Sioux  at  Ash 
Hollow,  a  great  excitement  was  aroused  by  it  among  the 
followers  of  Ellis.  That  chief  accused  Mr.  Spalding  of 
designing  the  death  of  all  three  of  Gray's  Nez  Perces  aids. 
He  had  the  mission  family  at  Lapwai  confined  in  their 
house  for  more  than  a  month,  during  which  time  Mr. 
Pambrun  sent  a  messenger  several  times  to  induce  the  Nez 
Perces  to  restore  them  their  liberty,  explaining  to  them 
tli at  Gray  could  not  have  foreseen  or  prevented  the  attack 


upon  his  escort,  and  was  in  no  way  responsible.  They 
were  finally  persuaded  to  accept  presents  and  release  their 

But  this  was  not  the  end  of  the  early  troubles  at  the 
Presbyterian  missions.  A.  B.  Smith,  the  year  after  his 
arrival  with  Gray's  party,  was  sent  to  establish  a  mission 
upon  Ellis'  land  at  Kamiah,  east  of  Lapwai.  To  do  this 
he  had  permission,  but  was  forbidden  to  cultivate  the 
land.  After  being  at  Kamiah  one  year,  Smith  made  some 
preparations  to  till  a  small  field,  but  Ellis  reminded  him 
that  he  had  been  warned  not  to  do  so.  "  Do  you  not 
know,"  he  asked,  "what  has  been  told  you,  that  you  would 
be  digging  a  hole  in  which  you  should  be  buried?"  At 
this  he  desisted,  but  the  following  year  made  another 
attempt,  and  was  again  reminded,  when  he  made  no  more 
such  efforts.  In  1841  he  left  the  country  for  the  Sandwich 
Islands,  having  during  his  residence  in  Oregon  writlen  a 
grammar  of  the  Nez  Perces  language,  which  was  printed  on 
a  press  brought  from  Honolulu,  together  with  a  hymn 
book,  and  primers  to  be  used  in  the  schools. 

Why  it  was  that  Spalding  was  permitted  to  cultivate 
does  not  appear,  unless  it  was  that  he  was  able  to  convince 
the  Indians  by  actual  test  that  it  was  good  for  them  to  be 
able  to  raise  food,  and  save  themselves  the  trouble  of 
taking  long  journeys  every  summer  to  procure  game,  roots, 
and  berries.  At  all  events  he  seems  to  have  been  very 
successful,  and  his  reports  upon  the  fertility  of  the  country 
compare  well  with  those  written  at  a  much  later  period. 
He  presented  those  whom  he  could  induce  to  cultivate, 
with  hoes  and  ploughs  —  a  present  going  a  long  way 
toward  convincing  an  Indian  that  your  word  can  be 

Mrs.  Spalding  was  a  balance  wheel  in  the  missionary 
machinery.  Her  quiet  devotion  to  duty,  her  kindliness 
and  firmness,  made  a  real  impression  upon  the  Nez  Perces, 
the  women  looking  upon  her  as  their  true  friend,  whose 
wisdom  the}7  never  questioned.  She  taught  them  house- 


work,  sewing,  spinning,  and  cookery,  all  of  which  they 
learned  readily  when  they  chose. 

Farnham,  who  visited  Waiilatpu  in  1839,  was  struck 
with  admiration  of  the  superintendent's  work,  both  as 
teacher  and  farmer,  and  greatly  impressed  by  the  appar 
ently  devotional  character  of  the  Cayuses  as  exhibited  in 
some  of  the  chief  families,  who  were  regular  in  their 
attendance  upon  public  worship,  and  morning  and  evening 
devotions  in  their  lodges. 

At  the  Spokane  mission  of  Chemekane  there  was  less 
improvement,  and  somewhat  less  anxiety.  In  1839  one  of 
the  teachers  at  that  station  wrote,  "The  failure  of  this 
mission  is  so  strongly  impressed  upon  my  mind  that  I  feel 
it  necessary  to  have  cane  in  hand,  and  as  much  as  one 
shoe  on,  ready  for  a  move.  I  see  nothing  but  the  power 
of  God  that  can  save  us."  Yet  the  Spokaues  were  esteemed 
more  tractable  than  the  Cayuses.  When  the  mission 
house  was  burned  in  the  winter  of  1839-40,  they  offered 
their  assistance,  and  refrained  from  pillage.  But  not 
knowing  what  their  course  might  be,  the  Hudson's  bay 
gentlemen  at  Colville  came  down  with  their  servants,  and 
camped  near,  to  afford  their  protection. 

As  early  as  1838  an  element  of  discord  of  a  nature 
different  from  those  already  mentioned,  was  introduced 
into  the  missionary  life  in  Oregon.  This  was  a  period  in 
church  history,  when  Catholicism  and  Protestantism  were 
in  a  state  of  active  hostility  to  each  other.  The  mere 
presence  of  a  Catholic  priest  in  the  neighborhood  of 
Waiilatpu  was  like  a  pestilence  in  the  air,  threatening 
the  welfare  of  every  member  of  the  missions.  The  same 
feeling  existed  in  western  Oregon,  with  this  difference — 
that  the  natives  there  were  so  contemptible  that  their  souls 
were  not  worth  saving,  and  their  bodies  too  insignificant 
to  be  feared. 

But  in  the  upper  country,  inhabited  by  powerful  and 
numerous  tribes,  religious  antipathy  and  intolerance  were 
likely  to  occasion  disorders  of  a  dangerous  nature,  partic- 


ularly  as  neither  party  was  able  conscientiously  to  yield 
to  the  other,  but  bound  by  duty  to  combat  the  contrary 
opinion  with  all  the  zeal  that  was  in  it.  Dr.  Whitman 
could  readily  see  that  the  ceremonials  of  the  Catholic  faith 
must  prove  attractive  to  the  childish  minds  of  savages, 
who  were  likely  to  turn  away  from  the  lessons  of  an  aus 
tere  religion  to  the  delights  of  bells  and  beads. 

Hence,  when  Rev.  F.  N.  Blanchet  and  Rev.  Modeste 
Demers  came  overland  from  Canada  in  1838,  making  a 
brief  pause  at  Walla  Walla  to  hold  a  "  mission  "  among  the 
French  Canadians,  and  to  baptize  all  the  natives  whom 
they  could  reach  into  the  holy  mother  church,  the  super- 
erintendent  of  the  Presbyterian  missions  was  filled  with 
anxiety,  and  not  without  reason.  The  more  ignorant  peo 
ple  are,  the  more  bitter  are  their  prejudices,  and  rancorous 
their  animosities.  A  religious  schism  among  Indians  was 
therefore  to  be  feared,  and  if  possible  avoided. 

Dr.  Whitman  had  before  him  a  fine  example  of  religious 
toleration  in  the  head  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company,  who 
received  and  listened  to  protestant  missionaries  of  whatever 
sect  visiting  Vancouver,  whom  he  also  aided  in  various 
ways  by  courtesies  and  by  contributions.  He  and  all  his 
officers  and  dependants  were  friends  of  Dr.  Whitman. 
Pambrun,  to  whom  they  were  indebted  for  many  kind 
nesses,  was  a  French  Canadian  arid  a  Catholic.  Mr.  Mc- 
Kinlay,  Pambrun's  successor  at  Fort  Walla  Walla,  was  a 
Presbyterian,  and  a  warm  friend  of  Dr.  Whitman,  but  not 
more  so  than  Pambrun.  The  Canadian  servants  of  the 
company  were  Catholics,  but  they  never  refused  friendly 
aid  and  neighborly  kindness  to  the  Methodists  or  Presby 
terians.  And  3Tet  Dr.  Whitman  was  alarmed,  with  some 
reason  we  musj  admit,  considering  that  he  lived  ever  over 
a  mine  of  savagery  that  needed  but  a  match  to  touch  it  off. 

The  Catholic  fathers  taught  their  converts  to  say  a  few 
simple  prayers,  and  gave  them  a  picture  called  the  "  Cath 
olic  Ladder,"  explanatory  of  the  principal  points  of  their 
faith;  that  was  all.  Mr.  Spalding  opposed  to  the  "Catholic 


Ladder"  a  picture  representing  two  roads  towards  heaven 
—one  wide,  where  the  Pope  was  selling  indulgences,  and 
at  the  end  of  which  the  purchasers  were  seen  falling  head 
foremost  into  hell;  the  other  so  narrow  that  few  could 
follow  it,  but  supposed  to  lead  to  bliss. 

This  now  seems  puerile,  but  in  that  time  was  thought  a 
worth}7  means  of  bringing  savages  to  practice  the  religion 
of  Jesus  Christ,  by  Catholics  and  Protestants.  The  Pres 
byterians  often  argued  with  the  Indians,  as  it  was  the 
fashion  of  the  churches  to  hold  doctrinal  arguments  among 
its  members  —  a  fashion  most  unwisely  followed  among  a 
people  whose  understandings  led  them  to  literal  construc 
tions,  or  to  strange  subtleties,  rather  than  to  spiritual 

But  the  root  of  the  troubles  between  the  missionaries 
and  the  natives  was  not  at  any  time  in  their  religious 
differences,  which  was  really  a  side  issue  capable  of  being 
turned  to  account,  but  which  was  never  used  except  in 
simple  competition,  and  which  alone  need  never  have 
endangered  the  peace  of  the  country. 

The  real  cause  of  ill  feeling  between  the  Indians  and 
their  Protestant  teachers  was  the  continued  misunder 
standing  concerning  the  ownership  of  land,  and  the  accu 
mulation  of  property.  The  promise  of  Dr.  Parker  had 
never  been  redeemed.  No  one  had  appeared  to  purchase 
the  lands  occupied  by  the  missions,  nor  had  any  ships 
arrived  laden  with  Indian  goods  and  farming  implements 
for  their  benefit. 

Doubtless  Dr.  Parker,  when  he  made  the  promise,  was 
thinking  of  the  hoped  for  settlement  of  the  Oregon  bound 
ary  question,  and  the  speedy  extinguishment  of  the  Indian 
title  to  the  country  which  would  folio w,*in  order  that 
congress  might  carry  out  the  plan  of  populating  it  by 
offering  liberal  donations  of  land  to  emigrants.  But  this 
we  have  seen  had  not  taken  place,  while  every  year  a  few 
more  Americans  arrived  and  remained  in  the  country,  and 
without  paying  for  their  lands. 


In  the  meantime,  the  very  favorable  view  which  was 
first  held  by  the  Presbyterians  of  the  generous  character 
of  the  Indians  had  faded  out.  We  find  Spalding  saying 
that  "I  have  no  evidence  to  suppose  but  a  vast  majority 
of  them  would  look  on  with  indifference  and  see  our 
dwelling  burned  to  the  ground,  and  our  heads  severed 
from  our  bodies."  Smith  at  Kamiah,  and  Walker  and 
Eells  at  Chemekane  thought  the  natives  professed  religion 
to  secure  presents,  which  not  being  forthcoming  they 
were  hostile;  and  all  agreed  as  to  their  untruthfulness. 

In  1840  the  Cayuses  destroyed  Dr.  Whitman's  irrigating 
ditches,  and  allowed  their  horses  to  damage  the  grain  in 
the  mission  field.  This  was  done  out  of  malice,  the 
Indians  having  been  taught  enough  about  farming  to  be 
perfectly  aware  of  the  mischief  they  were  causing  to  the 
doctor's  crops.  When  he  angrily  reproved  them  they 
threw  mud  upon  him,  plucked  his  beard,  pulled  his  ears, 
threatened  him  with  a  gun,  arid  offered  to  strike  him  a 
blow  with  an  axe,  which  he  avoided. 

These  demonstrations  alarmed  the  doctor's  friend,  Mc- 
Kinlay  of  Fort  Walla  Walla,  who  counseled  him  to  leave 
the  country  for  a  time  at  least,  saying  that  the  Indians 
would  repent  when  they  no  longer  had  him,  and  want 
him  back  again.  But  he  feared  to  abandon  his  place, 
which  would  probably  be  destroyed ;  and  the  chief,  Splitted 
Lip,  who  instigated  the  attack  on  him,  dying  that  year,  he 
hoped  for  relief  from  the  persecutions  he  had  suffered. 
Besides,  he  had  determined,  as  he  said,  "never  to  show  the 
white  feather." 

In  1841  W.  H.  Gray  struck  an  Indian  boy,  probably  a 
well-deserved  blow,  and  his  uncle,  who  was  the  chief  on 
whose  lands  the  mission  of  Waiilatpu  was  built.  —  Tilou- 
kaikt, —  a  haughty  and  ill-tempered  savage,  struck  Whit 
man  in  revenge,  pulling  his  nose,  and  committing  other 
outrages,  which  the  doctor  bore  without  any  signs  of  fear. 
McKinlay,  to  punish  them,  refused  to  hire  their  horses  as 
agreed,  to  take  the  Red-river  immigrants  to  The  Dalles, 


unless  the  chief  and  all  implicated  in  the  assault  should 
beg  the  doctor's  pardon,  which  they  consented  to  do. 

Hearing  of  these  things  prevented  some  missionaries  at 
the  Sandwich  Islands  from  joining  the  Oregon  missions, 
and  prevented  the  board  from  sending  more  across  the 
continent.  The  Indian  boys  were  mischievous  and  thiev 
ing,  and  carried  off  the  best  fruits  raised  in  the  mission 
garden,  which  troublesomeness  inspired  Gray  to  sicken 
them  with  a  dose  of  ipecac  introduced  into  the  finest 
looking  melons.  The  illness  induced  by  the  drug  caused 
the  Indians  to  accuse  the  missionaries  of  designing  to 
poison  them,  and  incited  them  to  fresh  acts  of  hostility. 

These  experiences  at  Waiilatpu  were  duplicated  at  Lap- 
wai,  where  the  Nez  Perces  pulled  down  Spalding's  mill, 
threatened  him  with  a  gun,  and  offered  a  gross  insult  to 
Mrs.  Spalding.  These  were  things  hard  to  be  borne;  but 
both  Whitman  and  Spalding  were  determined  to  keep  their 
hold  upon  the  homes  they  had  built  up  in  the  wilderness 
under  so  many  difficulties,  until  such  time  as  the  govern 
ment  of  the  United  States  should  come  to  their  rescue. 

Added  to  his  other  trials,  Dr.  Whitman  was  worried  by 
demands  from  the  home  board  that  the  Oregon  missions 
should  be  made  self-supporting,  a  thing  which  could  not 
happen  while  he  had  so  few  assistants,  and  where  there  was 
no  market  for  any  productions.  He  could  barely  subsist 
his  family  by  raising  and  grinding  grain  enough  ;  and  by 
eating  horse  flesh  in  place  of  beef.  He  could  not  purchase 
groceries,  clothing,  machinery,  nor  other  necessaries,  and 
so  he  told  the  board — and  that  if  they  wished  him  to  turn* 
trader  they  must  furnish  him  assistants  and  means,  and 
even  then  wait  for  a  market  to  come  to  him,  as  the  Metho 
dist  missionaries  and  Hudson's  Bay  Company  controlled 
the  trade  of  the  country. 

To  all  this  the  board  finally  returned  in  1842  that  Dr. 
Whitman  must  abandon  the  Cayuse  station  and  join 
Walker  and  Eells  in  the  Spokane  country;  and  Spalding 


must  return  to  the  states,  leaving  the  ungrateful  Cayuses 
and  Nez  Perces  without  teachers. 

Now,  this  was  what  these  gentlemen  were  resolved  not 
to  do.  From  their  point  of  view  it  was  unwise  to  abandon 
good  homes,  at  a  period  when  it  seemed  most  likely  that 
the  government  was  about  to  settle  the  question  of  the 
Oregon  boundary,  and  immediately  after  of  course,  as  they 
believed,  to  acquire  title  by  treaty  to  the  Indian  lands,  out 
of  which  the  first  settlers  were  to  receive  large  donations. 
If  only  they  could  keep  the  peace  a  little  longer! 

It  was  just  at  this  painful  juncture  in  mission  affairs 
that  Dr.  White  arrived  at  Waiilatpu  with  his  immigrant 
party  of  1842.  He  spent  two  days  at  the  station,  and  we 
can  imagine  how  eagerly  Dr.  Whitman  questioned  him, 
and  how  hopefully  he  heard  what  White  had  to  relate, 
which  confirmed  his  belief  that  if  he  could  hold  on  a  little 
longer  he  need  neither  abandon  the  Cayuses  nor  his  home. 
If  men  in  authority  at  Washington  had  asked  White  to 
start  the  emigration  movement,  and  given  him  an  office, — 
the  first  delegated  authority  bestowed  on  any  one  in  this 
Northwest,  —  could  he  not  also  accomplish  something  for 
the  country,  the  missions,  and  himself  by  going  to  Wash 
ington  and  Boston?  If  he  was  to  do  this,  it  must  be  now 
or  never,  for  orders  to  vacate  had  been  issued,  and  they 
must  be  obeyed,  or  a  good  reason  given  for  the  failure. 

He  felt  able,  if  he  could  see  the  board  personally,  to 
present  a  strong  case.  He  could  show  them  now,  since 
immigration  had  begun,  that  Waiilatpu  and  Lapwai  could 
be  made  important  supply  stations  on  the  road  to  the 
Wallamet  valley,  and  thus  self-supporting;  that  fifty 
Christian  families  settled  about  him  would  be  an  example 
to  the  Indians,  and  give  aid  and  protection  to  him,  while 
a  few  more  teachers  among  the  Indians  would  help  him 
greatly  to  maintain  control  of  the  native  children,  and 
through  them  of  their  parents. 

To  politicians  he  would  say,  "Hold  on  to  the  country 
north  as  well  as  south  of  the  Columbia;  it  is  a  fine  coun- 

THE    GAYUSE  WAR.  33 

try  for  grazing,  and  raises  good  crops  where  irrigated.'' 
He  meant  to  ask  some  friends  of  Oregon  in  Washington 
to  get  an  appropriation  for  erecting  military  stations  in 
the  Indian  country,  and  he  had  thought  that  if  he  could 
obtain  a  grant  of  money  to  buy  sheep  to  be  given  to  the 
Indians  as  a  reward  for  good  conduct  and  a  food  supply, 
so  that  they  might  not  have  to  go  to  the  buffalo  country 
for  meat,  it  would  have  a  tendency  to  give  them  more  set 
tled  habits,  and  incline  them  more  towards  civilization. 

With  these  mixed  motives,  and  feeling  driven  by  the 
exigencies  of  the  situation,  Dr.  Whitman  determined  to 
start  for  the  states  as  soon  as  he  could  find  some  one  to 
take  charge  of  his  station.  Rogers  and  Gray  had  deserted 
him,  and  he  was  forced  to  write  for  William  Geiger,  u 
Presbyterian,  who  had  been  employed  in  the  Methodist 
mission  school  in  the  Wallamet,  to  come  to  Waiilatpu  and 
remain  during  his  absence. 

These  matters  arranged,  he  was  finally  ready  for  his 
journey,  and  aided  by  his  friend  McKinlay,  set  out  Octo 
ber  3,  1842,  for  the  east  via  Fort  Hall,  Uintah,  Taos,  Fort 
Bent,  and  Santa  Fe,  at  which  point  A.  L.  Lovejoy,  his  only 
traveling  companion,  besides  his  guides,  remained,  while 
Whitman  joined  a  trading  company  going  to  St.  Louis, 
where  he  arrived  in  the  month  of  March,  having  manfully 
borne  the  hardships  of  a  winter  journey  seldom  performed 
in  that  day  even  by  mountain  men. 

On  reaching  the  frontier  Dr.  Whitman  found  that  a 
treaty  with  Great  Britain  had  been  negotiated  between  our 
secretary  of  state,  Daniel  Webster,  and  the  British  pleni 
potentiary,  Lord  Asbburton,  and  confirmed  by  the  high 
contracting  parties  seven  months  before  his  arrival,  but 
that  it  did  not  in  any  way  affect  the  Oregon  question, 
leaving  it  where  it  had  been  before. 

He  found  also  that  the  Linn  land  bill  had  passed  the 
senate  a  few  weeks  previous,  and  been  defeated  in  the 
house.  But  so  sure  had  its  passage  been  regarded  by  the 
people  that  a  large  number  of  immigrants  were  ready  to 


start  for  Oregon  with  their  families,  cattle,  and  household 
goods;  and  had  appointed  a  rendezvous  in  western  Missouri 
from  which  to  march  as  soon  as  the  grass  should  be  suf 
ficiently  high  to  subsist  their  stock.  With  some  of  these 
people  he  talked  in  passing,  and  gave  them  instruction  as 
to  the  route,  and  the  best  means  of  traveling  and  encamp 
ing.  He  found  the  secretary  of  war  in  his  last  report  had 
recommended  a  line  of  military  posts  with  the  object  of 
impressing  the  Indians  on  the  Pacific  coast  with  the 
strength  of  the  United  States,  and  also  to  afford  protection 
to  the  Americans  in  that  region.  The  secretary  went 
further,  and  recommended  making  an  appropriation  to 
send  out  a  colony  to  settle  in  Oregon.  He  found  petitions 
pouring  into  congress  from  Iowa,  Missouri,  Illinois,  In 
diana,  Ohio,  Kentucky,  and  Alabama,  insisting  upon  the 
occupation  of  Oregon.  He  found,  in  short,  little  left  for 
him  to  propose  or  advocate  in  Oregon  matters,  for  the 
subject  was  one  more  written  and  talked  about  than  any 
other  at  that  time. 

It  appears  from  a  letter  preserved  in  the  war  department, 
that  while  Dr.  Whitman  was  in  Washington  he  had  a  con 
ference  with  the  secretary  of  war,  Hon.  James  M.  Porter, 
and  that  he  was  requested  by  Porter  to  frame  such  a  bill 
as  would  be  for  the  best  interests  of  Oregon.  This  he  did 
after  his  return  home  in  the  autumn  of  1843,  but  it  was 
never  introduced  in  congress,  and  remained  forever  a  dead 

This  bill  asked  for  the  establishment  of  "a  chain  of  agri 
cultural  posts  or  farming  "stations"  from  the  Missouri  to 
the  Wallamet  river  in  Oregon,  with  regulations  for  their 
management.  Their  avowed  object  was  to  set  the  example 
of  civilized  industry  to  the  Indians;  to  suppress  lawless 
ness  on  the  frontier;  to  facilitate  the  passage  of  troops  and 
munitions  of  war,  and  the  transportation  of  mails. 

It  will  be  observed  that  the  bill  makes  no  mention  of  the 
necessities  of  emigrants,  but  in  a  letter  accompanying  it, 
Dr.  Whitman  dilates  upon  the  benefits  to  travelers  not  only 

THE   CAYUSE  WAli.  35 

of  protection  from  Indian  aggression,  but  of  being  supplied 
with  vegetable  food  while  en  route? 

These  documents,  which  have  only  been  brought  to  light 
after  nearly  half  a  century  of  lying  perdu,  serve  to  confirm 
reports  concerning  his  troubles  with  the  Cayuses,  and  his 
anxiety  for  protection. 

It  was  said  by  persons  about  Fort  Walla  Walla,  that  Dr. 
Whitman,  in  his  vexation  with  the  Indians,  before  leaving 
for  the  states,  threatened  them  with  bringing  back  many 
people  to  chastise  them.  This  threat  has  been  denied  by 
his  friends  as  not  consistent  with  his  character  as  a  mis 
sionary;  but  the  tone  of  his  letter  and  bill  of  1843  are  en- 

3  In  reading  the  following  letter  and  bill,  it  should  be  borne  in  mind  that  they 
were  written  after  the  doctor  had  been  east,  had  learned  the  then  political  prospects 
of  Oregon,  and  had  traveled  months  in  company  with  intelligent  western  men,  with 
whom  he  talked  freely,  and  to  whom,  according  to  their  evidence,  he  never  disclosed 
any  political  motive  in  going  east.  What  he  wanted  both  before  and  after  going  east, 
it  is  fair  to  assume,  is  set  down  in  these  documents,  which  are  interesting  as  a  part 
of  the  early  history  of  Oregon,  and  as  an  indication  of  the  character  and  motives  of 
their  author.  They  were  received  at  Washington,  June  22,  1844,  probably  forwarded 
by  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company's  annual  express  via  Montreal  of  that  year.  Nothing 
in  either  of  these  documents  shows  any  political  motive  for  Dr.  Whitman's  visit  east ; 
but  the  second  paragraph  of  his  letter,  in  which  he  says  the  government  will  learn 
through  him  of  the  emigration  of  one  thousand  persons,  shows  a  singular  want  in 
him  of  a  knowledge  of  the  facts,  the  government  keeping  a  sharp  lookout,  as  well 
as  tlie  newspapers  of  the  day  :— 

To  the  Hon.  James  M.  Porter,  Secretary  of  War  : 

SIR  :  In  compliance  with  the  request  you  did  me  the  honor  to  make  last  winter 
while  at  Washington,  I  herewith  transmit  to  you  the  synopsis  of  a  bill,  which,  if  it 
could  be  adopted,  would  according  to  my  experience  and  observation  prove  highly 
conducive  to  the  best  interests  of  the  United  States  generally,  to  Oregon,  where  I 
have  resided  for  more  than  seven  years  as  a  missionary,  and  to  the  Indian  tribes  that 
inhabit  the  intermediate  country. 

The  government  will  now  doubtless  for  the  first  time  be  apprised  through  you, 
and  by  means  of  this  communication,  of  the  immense  migration  of  families  to  Ore 
gon,  which  has  taken  place  this  year.  I  have  since  our  interview  been  instrumental 
in  piloting  across  the  route  described  in  the  accompanying  bill,  and  which  is  the 
only  eligible  wagon  road,  no  less  than families,  consisting  of  one  thousand  per 
sons  of  both  sexes,  with  their  wagons,  amounting  in  all  to  more  than  one  hundred 
and  twenty,  six  hundred  and  ninety -four  oxen,  and  seven  hundred  and  seventy-three 
loose  cattle. 

The  emigrants  are  from  different  states,  but  principally  from  Missouri,  Arkan 
sas,  Illinois,  and  New  York.  The  majority  of  them  are  farmers,  lured  by  the  pros 
pects  of  government  bounty  in  lands,  by  the  reported  fertility  of  the  soil,  and  by  the 
desire  to  be  first  among  those  who  are  planting  our  institutions  on  the  Pacific  coast. 
Among  them  are  artisans  of  every  trade,  comprising  with  fanrers  the  very  best  ma 
terial  for  a  new  colony.  As  pioneers,  these  people  have  undergone  incredible  hard 
ships,  and  having  now  safely  passed  the  Blue  mountain  range  with  their  wagons 
and  effects,  have  established  a  durable  road  from  Missouri  to  Oregon,  which  will 


tirely  consistent  with  such  a  proposition;  his  whole  thought 
seeming  to  be  how  to  repel  Indian  aggressions.  Whatever 
admiration  he  had  at  first  felt  for  the  aboriginal  character 
had  been  completely  effaced  by  his  experiences  among 
them.  Why  then  did  he  insist  that  the  board  should  not 
recall  him  from  the  country,  except  that  it  was  with  him 
as  with  the  Methodist  missionaries,  that  the  settler  in  him 
was  stronger  than  the  missionary  —  as  missionaries  were 
at  that  period  understood  to  be. 

To  his  disappointment  the  American  board  of  commis 
sioners  for  foreign  missions  had  no  stomach  for  territorial 
conquest  or  Indian  subjugation.  They  reprimanded  him 

serve  to  mark  permanently  the  route  for  larger  numbers  each  succeeding  year,  while 
they  have  practically  demonstrated  that  wagons  drawn  by  horses  or  oxen  can  cross 
the  Rocky  mountains  to  the  Columbia  river  country,  contrary  to  all  the  sinister 
assertions  of  all  those  who  pretended  it  to  be  impossible. 

In  their  slow  progress  these  persons  have  encountered,  as  in  all  former  instances 
and  as  all  succeeding  emigrants  must  if  this  or  some  similar  bill  be  not  passed  by. 
congress,  the  continual  fear  of  Indian  aggression,  the  actual  loss  through  them  of 
horses,  cattle,  and  other  property,  and  the  great  labor  of  transporting  an  adequate 
amount  of  provisions  for  so  long  a  journey.  The  bill  herewith  proposed  would,  in  a, 
great  measure,  lessen  these  inconveniences  by  the  establishment  of  posts,  which, 
while  [having]  the  possessed  power  to  keep  the  Indians  in  check,  thus  doing  away 
with  the  necessity  of  military  vigilance  on  the  part  of  the  traveler  by  day  and  night, 
would  be  able  to  lurnish  them  in  transit  with  fresh  supplies  of  provisions,  diminish 
ing  the  original  burdens  of  the  emigrants,  and  finding  thus  a  ready  and  profitable  mar 
ket  for  their  produce  — a  market  that  would,  in  my  opinion,  more  than  suffice  to 
defray  all  the  current  expenses  of  such  posts.  The  present  party  is  supposed  to  have 
expended  no  less  than  two  thousand  dollars  at  Laramie's  and  Bridger's  forts  and  as 
much  more  at  Fort  Hall  and  Fort  Boise,  two  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company's  stations. 
These  are  at  present  the  only  stopping  places  in  a  journey  of  two  thousand  two  hun 
dred  miles,  and  the  only  places  where  additional  supplies  can  be  obtained,  even  at 
the  enormous  rates  of  charge  called  mountain  prices ;  i.  e.,  fifty  dollars  the  hundred 
for  flour  and  fifty  dollars  the  hundred  for  coffee ;  the  same  for  sugar,  powder,  etc. 

Many  cases  of  sickness  and  some  deaths  took  place  among  those  who  accom 
plished  the  journey  this  season,  owing  in  a  great  measure  to  the  uninterrupted  use 
of  meat,  salt  and  fresh,  with  flour,  which  constituted  the  chief  articles  of  food  they 
are  able  to  convey  in  their  wagons,  and  this  would  be  obviated  by  the  vegetable  pro. 
ductions,  which  the  posts  in  contemplation  could  very  profitably  afford  them.  Those 
who  rely  on  hunting  as  an  auxiliary  support  are  at  present  unable  to  have  their 
arms  repaired  when  out  of  order ;  horses  and  oxen  become  tender  footed  and  require 
to  be  shod  on  this  long  journey,  sometimes  repeatedly,  and  the  wagons  repaired  in  a 
variety  of  ways.  I  mention  these  as  valuable  incidents  to  the  proposed  measure,  as 
it  will  also  be  found  to  tend  in  many  other  incidental  ways  to  benefit  the  migratory 
population  of  the  United  States,  choosing  to  take  this  direction,  and  on  these  ac 
counts  as  well  as  for  the  immediate  use  of  the  posts  themselves,  they  ought  to  be  pro 
vided  with  the  necessary  shops  and  mechanics,  which  would  at  the  same  time 
exhibit  the  several  branches  of  civilized  art  to  the  Indians. 

The  outlay,  in  the  first  instance,  would  be  but  trifling.  Forts  like  those  of  the 
Hudson's  Bay  Company,  surrounded  by  walls  inclosing  all  the  buildings,  and  con- 

THE  CAY  USE  WAR.  37 

for  leaving  his  station  on  so  useless  an  errand,  refused  to 
pay  his  expenses,  and  left  him  to  get  back  again  as  best 
he  could.  It  is  very  probable  they  were  more  or  less 
disgusted  with  him, —  these  highly  proper,  clean-shaven, 
decorous  Presbyterians, —  for  seven  years  spent  among  sav 
ages,  with  every  kind  of  farm  labor  to  perform,  could  not 
have  given  that  finish  to  his  manner  which  the  Bostonians 
"admired  to  see."  So,  they  told  him  to  go  home  and  do 
the  best  he  could  without  their  aid.  This  was  his  reward 
for  what  he  had  endured  for  conscience'  sake  —  for  Dr. 
Whitman  was  a  thoroughly  conscientious  man  where  a 
principle  was  in  question. 

structed  almost  entirely  of  adobe  or  sun-dried  bricks,  with  stone  foundations  only, 
can  be  easily  and  cheaply  erected. 

There  are  very  eligible  places  for  as  many  of  these  as  the  government  will  find  nee. 
essary,  at  suitable  distances,  not  further  than  one  or  two  hundred  miles  apart,  at  the 
main  crossing  of  the  principal  streams  that  now  form  impediments  to  the  journey, 
and  consequently  well  supplied  with  water,  having  alluvial  bottom  lands  of  a  rich 
quality,  and  generally  well  wooded.  If  I  might  be  allowed  to  suggest  the  best  sites 
for  said  posts,  my  personal  knowledge  and  observation  enable  me  to  recommend, 
first,  the  main  crossing  of  the  Kansas  river,  where  a  ferry  would  be  very  convenient 
to  the  traveler,  and  profitable  to  the  station  having  it  in  charge ;  next,  and  about 
eighty  miles  distant,  the  crossing  of  Blue  river,  where,  in  times  of  unusual  freshet,  a 
ferry  would  be  in  like  manner  useful ;  next,  and  distant  from  one  hundred  to  one 
and  fifty  miles,  from,  the  last  mentioned,  the  Little  Blue,  or  Republican  fork  of  the 
Kansas  ;  next,  and  from  sixty  to  one  hundred  miles  distant  from  the  last  mentioned, 
the  point  of  intersection  of  the  Platte  river;  next,  and  from  one  hundred  to  one 
hundred  and  fifty  miles  distant  from  the  last  mentioned  crossing  of  the  South  fork 
of  the  Platte  river ;  next,  and  about  one  hundred  and  eighty  or  two  hundred  miles 
distant  from  the  last  mentioned,  Horseshoe  creek,  which  is  about  forty  miles  west  of 
Laramie's  fork  in  the  Black  Hills  ;  here  is  a  fine  creek  for  mills  and  irrigation,  good 
land  for  cultivation,  fine  pasturage,  timber,  and  stone  for  building.  Other  locations 
may  be  had  along  the  Platte  and  Sweetwater,  on  the  Green  river,  or  Black's  fork  of 
the  Bear  river,  near  the  Great  Soda  Springs,  near  Fort  Hall,  and  at  suitable  places 
down  to  the  Columbia.  These  localities  are  all  of  the  best  description,  so  situated  as 
to  hold  a  ready  intercourse  with  the  Indians  in  their  passage  to  and  from  the  ordi 
nary  buffalo  hunting  grounds,  and  in  themselves  so  well  situated  in  all  other  respects 
as  to  be  desirable  to  private  enterprise,  if  the  usual  advantages  of  trade  existed. 
Any  of  the  farms  above  indicated  would  be  deemed  extremely  valuable  in  the  states. 

The  government  cannot  long  overlook  the  importance  of  superintending  the 
savages  that  endanger  this  line  of  travel,  and  that  are  not  yet  in  treaty  with  it.  Some 
of  these  are  already  well  known  to  be  led  by  desperate  white  men  and  mongrels,  who 
form  bandits  in  the  most  difficult  passes,  and  are  at  all  times  ready  to  cut  oft1  some 
lagging  emigrant  in  the  rear  of  the  party,  or  some  adventurous  one  who  may  proceed 
a  few  miles  in  advance,  or  at  night  to  make  a  descent  upon  the  sleeping  camp  and 
carry  away  or  kill  horses  and  cattle.  This  is  the  case  even  now  in  the  commence 
ment  of  our  western  emigration,  and  when  it  comes  to  be  more  generally  known 
that  large  quantities  of  valuable  property  and  considerable  sums  of  money  are  yearly 
carried  over  this  desolate  region,  it  is  to  be  feared  an  organized  banditti  will  be 
instituted.  The  posts  in  contemplation  would  effectually  counteract  this ;  for  that 


He  went  to  his  old  home  in  central  New  York,  sold  what 
ever  property  he  had  there,  and  started  for  Oregon  once 
more,  in  company  with  his  nephew,  a  young  lad,  a  riding 
horse  apiece,  and  a  pack  horse.  It  was  characteristic  of 
the  man.  He  always  took  these  desperate  chances.  Pro 
ceeding  westward,  he  visited  some  relatives,  and  afterwards 
one  or  two  of  the  missions  on  the  border.  He  was  sent 
for  to  address  a  meeting  at  the  emigrant  rendezvous  in  Mis 
souri  about  the  middle  of  May,  but  returned  to  Westport, 
and  did  not  overtake  the  emigration  until  it  had  reached 
the  Platte  in  June. 

Dr.  Whitman  had  wished  to  bring  back  with  him  some 

purpose  they  need  not  nor  ought  not  to  be  military  establishments.  The  trading 
posts  in  this  country  have  never  been  of  such  a  character,  and  yet,  with  very  few 
men  in  them,  have  for  years  kept  the  surrounding  Indians  in  the  most  pacific  dispo 
sition,  so  that  the  traveler  feels  secure  from  molestation  upon  approaching  Fort  Lara- 
mie,  Bridger's  Fort,  Fort  Hall,  etc.  The  same  can  be  obtained  without  any  considerable 
expenditure  by  government,  while,  by  investing  the  officers  in  charge  with  compe 
tent  authority,  all  evil-disposed  white  men,  refugees  from  justice,  or  discharged  vag 
abonds  from  the  trading  posts  might  be  easily  removed  from  among  the  Indians,  and 
sent  to  the  appropriate  states  for  trial.  The  Hudson's  Bay  Company's  system  of 
rewards  among  the  savages  would  soon  enable  the  posts  to  root  out  these  desperadoes. 
A  direct  and  friendly  intercourse  with  all  the  tribes,  even  to  the  Pacific,  might  be 
thus  maintained,  the  government  would  become  more  intimately  acquainted  with 
them,  and  they  with  the  government,  and  instead  of  sending  to  the  state  courts  a 
manifestly  guilty  Indian  to  be  arraigned  before  a  distant  tribunal  and  acquitted  for 
the  want  of  testimony  by  the  technicalities  of  lawyers  and  of  laws  unknown  to 
them,  and  sent  back  into  the  wilderness  loaded  with  presents  as  an  inducement  to 
further  crime,  the  posts  should  be  enabled  to  execute  summary  justice,  as  if  tho 
criminal  had  been  already  condemned  by  his  tribe,  because  the  tribe  will  be  sure  to 
deliver  up  none  but  the  party  whom  they  know  to  be  guilty.  They  will  in  that  way 
receive  the  trial  of  their  peers,  and  secure  within  themselves,  to  all  intents  and  pur 
poses  if  not  technically,  the  trial  by  jury,  yet  the  spirit  of  that  trial.  There  are 
many  powers  which  ought  to  reside  in  some  person  on  this  extended  route  for  the 
convenience  and  even  necessity  of  the  public. 

In  this  the  emigrant  and  the  people  of  Oregon  are  no  more  interested  than  the 
resident  inhabitants  of  the  states.  At  present  no  person  is  authorized  to  administer 
an  oath  or  legally  attest  a  fact  from  the  western  line  of  Missouri  to  the  Pacific.  The 
emigrant  cannot  dispose  of  his  property  at  home,  although  an  opportunity  ever  s« 
advantageous  to  him  should  occur  after  he  passes  the  western  border  of  Missouri. 
No  one  can  here  make  a  legal  demand  and  protest  of  a  promissory  note  or  bill  of 
exchange.  No  one  can  secure  the  valuable  testimony  of  a  mountaineer  or  of  an 
emigrating  witness  after  he  has  entered  this,  at  present,  lawless  country.  Causes  do 
exist,  and  will  continually  arise,  in  which  the  private  rights  of  citizens  are  and  will 
be  seriously  prejudiced  by  such  an  utter  absence  of  legal  authority.  A  contraband 
trade  from  Mexico,  the  introduction  from  that  country  of  liquors  to  be  sold  among 
the  Indians  west  of  the  Kansas  river,  is  already  carried  on  with  the  mountain  trap 
pers,  and  very  soon  the  teas,  silks,  nankeens,  spices,  camphor,  and  opium  of  the  East 
Indies  will  find  their  way,  duty  free,  through  Oregon,  across  the  mountains  and  into 
the  states  unless  custom-house  officers  along  this  line  find  an  interest  in  intercepting 


"  Christian  families  to  settle  in  the  vicinity  of  the  different 
stations."  But  in  that  he  was  disappointed.  These  families 
could  not  be  induced  to  take  the  risks  he  was  taking,  and 
he  talked  freely  with  some  of  his  fellow  travelers  to  Oregon 
of  his  want  of  success,  and  fears  of  the  consequences.  Out 
of  the  whole  immigration  of  nearly  eight  hundred  persons, 
only  one  family,  and  one  unmarried  man,  were  persuaded 
to  remain  at  Lapwai,  while  not  one  person  consented  to 
give  him  their  assistance  at  Waiilatpu. 

This  circumstance  probably  had  a  quieting  effect  upon 
the  Indians,  as  no  more  of  their  lands  were  taken ;  but 
they  still  complained  that  the  missionaries  traded  with 

Your  familiarity  with  the  government  policy,  duties,  and  interest  renders  it  un 
necessary  for  rne  to  more  than  hint  at  the  several  objects  intended  by  the  enclosed 
bill,  and  any  enlargement  upon  the  topics  here  suggested  as  inducements  to  its 
adoption  would  be  quite  superfluous,  if  not  impertinent.  The  very  existence  of 
such  a  system  as  the  one  above  recommended  suggests  the  utility  of  postoffices  and 
mail  arrangements,  which  it  is  the  wish  of  all  who  now  live  in  Oregon  to  have 
granted  them,  and  I  need  only  add  that  contracts  for  this  purpose  will  be  readily 
taken  at  reasonable  rates  for  transporting  the  mail  across  from  Missouri  to  the  mouth 
of  the  Columbia  in  forty  days,  with  fresh  horses  at  each  of  the  contemplated  posts. 
The  ruling  policy  proposed  regards  the  Indians  as  the  police  of  the  country,  who  are 
to  be  relied  upon  to  keep  the  peace,  not  only  for  themselves,  but  to  repel  lawless 
white'men  and  prevent  banditti,  under  the  solitary  guidance  of  the  superintendent 
of  the  several  posts,  aided  by  a  well-directed  system  to  induce  the  punishment  of 
crime.  It  will  only  be  after  the  failure  of  these  means  to  procure  the  delivery  or 
punishment  of  violent,  lawless,  and  savage  acts  of  aggression,  that  a  band  or  tribe 
should  be  regarded  as  conspirators  against  the  peace,  or  punished  accordingly  by 
force  of  arms. 

Hoping  that  these  suggestions  may  meet  your  approbation,  and  conduce  to  the 
future  interest  of  our  growing  country,  I  have  the  honor  to  be,  honorable  sir, 
Your  obedient  servant, 


Copy  of  a  proposed  bill  prepared  by  Dr.  Marcus  Whitman  in 
1843,  and  sent  to  the  secretary  of  war. 

A  bill  to  promote  safe  intercourse  with  the  territory  of  Oregon,  to  suppress  violent 
acts  of  aggression  on  the  part  of  certain  Indian  tribes  west  of  the  Indian  terri 
tory,  Neocho,  better  to  protect  the  revenue,  for.  the  transportation  of  the  mail, 
and  for  other  purposes. 

Section  1.  Be  it  enacted  by  tlie  senate  and  house  of  representatives  of  the  United  States 
of  America  in  congress  assembled,  that  from  and  after  the  passage  of  this  act  there  shall 
be  established  at  suitable  distances,  and  in  convenient  and  proper  places  to  be 
selected  by  the  president,  a  chain  of  agricultural  posts  or  farming  stations,  extending 
at  intervals  from  the  present  most  usual  crossing  of  the  Kansas  river,  west  of  the 
western  boundary  of  the  state  of  Missouri,  thence  ascending  the  Platte  river  on  its 
southern  border,  thence  through  the  valley  of  the  Bweetwater  river  to  Fort  Hall,  and 
thence  to  settlements  of  the  Willamette  in  the  territory  of  Oregon.  Which  said  posts 
shall  have  for  their  object  to  set  examples  of  civilized  industry  to  the  several  Indian 


the  immigrants,  acquiring  wealth,  while  they,  the  owners 
of  the  land,  remained  as  poor  as  before. 

Again,  from  the  above  facts,  we  may  draw  these  conclu 
sions  : — 

First.  That  with  the  purest  intentions,  and  with  the 
best  religious  ideas  of  the  times,  the  Presbyterian  mission 
aries  of  the  upper  country  found  it  impossible  to  implant 
spiritual  religion  in  the  minds  of  the  aboriginal  inhabitants 
of  earth. 

Second.  That  the  influence  of  the  contact  with  savagery 
was  to  unspiritualize  themselves;  to  drive  out  of  their 
minds  confidence  in  the  power  of  religion  to  change  the 

tribes,  to  keep  them  in  proper  subjection  to  the  laws  of  the  United  States,  to  suppress 
violent  and  lawless  acts  along  the  said  line  of  frontier,  to  facilitate  the  passage  of 
troops  and  munitions  of  war  into  and  out  of  the  said  territory  of  Oregon,  and  the 
transportation  of  the  mail  as  hereinafter  provided. 

Section  2.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  that  there  shall  reside  at  each  of  the  said 
posts  one  superintendent  having  charge  thereof,  with  full  power  to  carry  into  effect 
the  provisions  of  this  act,  subject  always  to  such  instructions  as  the  president  may 
impose;  one  deputy  superintendent  to  act  in  like  manner  in  case  of  the  death, 
removal,  or  absence  of  the  superintendent,  and  such  other  artificers  and  laborers,  not 
exceeding  twenty  in  number,  as  the  said  superintendent  may  deem  necessary  for  the 
conduct  and  safety  of  said  posts,  all  of  whom  shall  be  subject  to  his  appointment  and 
liable  to  removal. 

Section  3.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  that  it  shall  be  the  duty  of  the  president  to 
cause  to  be  erected  at  each  of  the  said  posts,  suitable  buildings  for  the  purpose  herein 
contemplated,  to  wit:  One  main  dwelling-house,  one  storehouse,  one  blacksmith's 
and  gunsmith's  shop,  and  one  carpenter  shop,  with  such  and  so  many  other  buildings 
for  storing  the  products  and  supplies  of  the  said  posts  as  he  may  from  time  to  time 
deem  expedient ;  to  supply  the  same  with  all  necessary  implements  of  mechanical 
art  and  agricultural  labor  incident  thereto,  and  with  all  such  other  articles  as  he 
may  judge  requisite  and  proper  for  the  safety,  defense,  and  comfort  thereof;  to 
cause  the  said  posts  in  his  discretion  to  be  visited  by  detachments  of  the  troops 
stationed  on  the  western  frontier;  to  suppress  through  the  said  posts  the  sale  of  muni 
tions  of  war  to  the  Indian  tribes  in  case  of  hostilities,  and  annually  to  lay  before 
congress  at  its  general  session,  full  returns,  verified  by  the  oaths  of  the  several  super 
intendents  of  the  several  acts  by  them  performed,  and  of  the  condition  of  the  said 
posts,  with  the  income  and  expenditures  growing  out  of  the  same  respectively. 

Section  4.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  that  the  said  superintendents  shall  be 
appointed  by  the  president,  by  and  with  the  advice  and  consent  of  the  senate,  for 
the  term  of  four  years,  with  a  salary  of  two  thousand  dollars,  payable  out  of  any 
moneys  in  the  treasury  not  otherwise  appropriated ;  that  they  shall  respectively  take 
an  oath  before  the  district  judge  of  the  United  States  for  the  western  district  of 
Missouri  faithfully  to  discharge  the  duties  imposed  on  them  in  and  by  the  provisions 
of  this  act,  and  give  a  bond  to  the  president  of  the  United  States,  and  to  his  successors 
in  office  and  assigns,  with  sufficient  security  to  be  approved  by  the  said  judge  in  at 
least  the  penalty  of  twenty-five  thousand  dollars,  conditioned  to  indemnify  the 
president,  his  successors,  or  assigns,  for  any  unlawful  acts  by  them  performed,  or 
injuries  committed  by  virtue  of  their  offices,  which  said  bonds  may  at  any  time  be 
assigned  for  prosecution  against  the  said  respective  superintendents  and  their  sure 

THE    CAY  USE  WAR.  41 

nature  of  men  in  a  low  stage  of  their  mental  evolution. 

Third.  That  the  change  this  discovery  made  in  them 
selves,  being  perceived  by  the  Indians,  was  a  cause  of  dis 
pleasure  to  them,  and  of  danger  to  the  missionaries. 

Fourth.  That  the  delay  of  the  governments  of  Great 
Britain  and  the  United  States  to  settle  the  Oregon  bound 
ary  greatly  increased  this  danger  by  preventing  an  un 
derstanding  between  our  government  and  the  Indians 
concerning  property  in  lands;  rendering  it  also  impolitic 
to  send  troops  among  them  before  our  sovereignty  had 
been  acknowledged  by  the  only  power  disputing  it. 

These  circumstances  left  the  defense  of  the  loyal  Ameri- 

ties  upon  application  to  the  said  judge  at  the  instance  of  the  United  States  district 
attorney  or  of  any  private  party  aggrieved. 

Section  5.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  that  it  shall  be  the  duty  of  said  superin 
tendents  to  cause  the  soil  adjacent  to  said  posts,  in  extent  not  exceeding  six  hun 
dred  and  forty  acres  to  be  cultivated  in  a  farmer-like  manner,  and  to  produce  such 
articles  of  culture  as  in  their  judgment  shall  be  deemed  to  be  most  profitable  and 
available  for  the  maintenance  of  said  posts,  for  the  supply  of  the  troops  and  other 
government  agents  which  may  from  time  to  time  resort  thereto,  and  to  render  the 
products  aforesaid  adequate  to  defraying  all  the  expenses  of  labor  in  and  about 
said  posts,  and  the  salary  of  the  said  deputy  superintendent,  without  resort  to  the 
treasury  of  the  United  States,  remitting  to  the  secretary  of  the  treasury  yearly  a 
sworn  statement  of  the  same,  with  the  surplus  moneys,  if  any  there  shall  be. 

Section  6.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  that  the  said  several  superintendents  of 
posts  shall,  ex  officio,  be  superintendents  of  Indian  affairs  west  of  the  Indian  terri 
tory,  Neocho,  subordinate  to  and  under  the  full  control  of  the  commissioner-general 
of  Indian  affairs  at  Washington.  That  they  shall,  by  virtue  of  their  offices,  be  con 
servators  of  the  peace,  with  full  powers  to  the  extent  hereinafter  prescribed,  in  all 
cases  of  crimes  and  misdemeanors,  whether  committed  by  citizens  of  the  United 
States,  or  by  Indians  within  the  frontier  line  aforesaid.  That  they  shall  have  power 
to  administer  oaths,  to  be  valid  in  the  several  courts  of  the  United  States,  to  perpet 
uate  testimoney  to  be  used  in  said  courts,  to  take  acknowledgements  of  deeds  and 
other  specialties  in  writing,  to  take  the  probate  of  wills  and  the  testaments  executed 
upon  the  said  frontier  of  which  the  testators  shall  have  died  in  transit  between  the 
state  of  Missouri  and  the  territory  of  Oregon,  and  to  do  and  certify  all  notarial  acts, 
and  to  perform  the  ceremony  of  marriage,  with  as  legal  effect  as  if  the  said  several 
acts  above  enumerated  had  been  performed  by  the  magistrates  of  any  of  the  states 
having  power  to  perform  the  service.  That  they  shall  have  power  to  arrest  and 
remove  from  the  line  aforesaid  all  disorderly  white  persons,  and  all  persons  exciting 
the  Indians  to  hostilities,  and  to  surrender  up  all  fugitives  from  justice  upon  the 
requisition  of  the  governor  of  any  of  the  states;  that  they  shall  have  power  to  de 
mand  of  the  several  tribes  within  the  said  frontier  line,  the  surrender  of  any  Indian 
or  Indians  committing  acts  in  contradiction  of  the  laws  of  the  United  States,  and  in 
case  of  such  surrender,  to  inilict  punishment  thereon,  according  to  the  tenor  and 
effect  of  said  laws,  without  further  trial,  presuming  such  offending  Indian  or  Indians 
to  have  received  the  trial  and  condemnation  of  the  tribe  to  which  he  or  they  may 
belong;  to  intercept  and  seize  all  articles  of  contraband  trade,  whether  introduced 
into  their  jurisdiction  in  violation  of  the  acts  imposing  duties  or  imports,  or  of  the 
acts  to  regulate  trade  and  intercourse  with  the  several  Indian  tribes  ;  to  transmit  the 


cans  holding  it,  to  be  performed  by  themselves.  It  left, 
in  1842,  two  mission  colonies,  and  a  few  poor  settlers, 
numbering  altogether  not  more  than  two  hundred  and 
seventy,  including  children,  and  the  party  of  immigrants 
who  came  with  White,  to  contend  in  case  of  an  Indian 
war,  with  many  thousands  of  savages  surrounding  them 
on  every  side.  To  add  to  the  apprehensions  of  the  Amer 
icans,  was  a  doubt  in  their  minds  as  to  which  side,  in  case 
of  a  race  war.  would  be  taken  by  the  foreigners  in  the 
country — the  free  Canadians  and  the  Hudson's  Bay 

same  to  the  marshal  of  the  western  district  of  Missouri,  together  with  the  proofs 
necessary  for  the  confiscation  thereof,  and  in  every  such  case  the  superintendent 
shall  be  entitled  to  and  receive  one-half  the  sale  value  of  the  said  confiscated  arti 
cles,  and  the  other  half  be  disposed  of  as  in  like  cases  arising  under  the  existing 
revenue  laws. 

Section  7.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  that  the  several  superintendents  shall  have 
and  keep  to  their  several  posts  seals  of  office  for  the  legal  authentication  of  their 
public  acts  herein  enumerated,  and  that  the  said  seals  shall  have  as  a  device  the 
spread-eagle,  with  the  words,  "U.  S.  Superintendency  of  the  Frontier,"  engraved 

Section  8.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  that  the  said  superintendents  shall  be  en 
titled,  in  addition  to  the  salary  hereinbefore  granted,  the  following  perquisites  and 
lees  of  office,  to  wit :  For  the  acknowledgment  of  all  deeds  and  specialties,  the  sum 
of  one  dollar  ;  for  the  administration  of  all  oaths,  twenty-five  cents  ;  for  the  authen 
tication  of  all  copies  of  written  instruments,  one  dollar ;  for  the  perpetuation  of  all 
testimony  to  be  used  in  the  United  States  courts,  by  the  folio,  fifty  cents ;  for  the 
probate  of  all  wills  and  testaments,  by  the  folio,  fifty  cents ;  for  all  other  writing  done 
by  the  folio,  fifty  cents  ;  for  solemnizing  marriages,  two  dollars,  including  the  certifi 
cate  to  be  given  to  the  parties;  for  the  surrender  of  fugitives  from  justice,  in  addi 
tion  to  the  necessary  costs  and  expenses  of  arrest  and  detention,  which  shall  be 
verified  to  the  demanding  governor  by  the  affidavit  of  the  superintendent,  ten 

Section  9.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  that  the  said  superintendents  shall,  by 
virtue  of  their  offices,  be  postmasters  at  the  several  stations  for  which  they  are  ap 
pointed,  and  as  such  shall  be  required  to  facilitate  the  transportation  of  the  mail  to 
and  from  the  territory  of  Oregon  and  the  nearest  postoffice  within  the  state  of  Mis 
souri,  subject  to  all  the  regulations  of  the  postoffice  department,  and  with  all  the 
immunities  and  privileges  of  the  postmasters  in  the  several  states,  except  that  no 
additional  compensation  shall  be  allowed  for  such  services ;  and  it  is  hereby  made 
the  duty  of  the  postmaster-general  to  cause  proposals  to  be  issued  for  the  transporta 
tion  of  the  mail  along  the  Inei  of  said  posts  to  and  from  the  said  territory  within  six 
months  after  the  passage  of  this  act. 

Section  10.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  that  the  sum  of thousand  dollars  be 

and  the  same  is  hereby  appropriated  out  of  any  moneys  in  the  treasury,  not  other 
wise  appropriated,  for  the  purpose  of  carrying  into  effect  the  several  provisions  of 
this  act.—  Walla  Walla  Daily  Union- Journal,  August  10, 1891. 



IN  THE  foregoing  chapters  we  have  presented  to  us  the 
stage,  and  the  dramatis  persons  on  which,  and  by  whom, 
was  enacted  the  great  tragedy  of  colonial  Oregon,  and 
have  been  given  a  view  of  its  gradual  unfolding.  From 
this  point  the  story  proceeds  more  rapidly. 

Up  1o  the  time  that  Dr.  White  returned  from  the  states 
invested  with  the  authority  of  a  sub-agent  of  Indian 
affairs  in  Oregon,  and  before  Dr.  Whitman  had  taken  his 
departure  for  the  east,  there  had  been  enacted  no  other 
hostilities  than  those  above  narrated;  trifling  if  viewed  in 
the  light  of  actual  warfare,  yet  of  a  threatening  nature 
when  the  circumstances  of  the  white  inhabitants  and  the 
characteristics  of  the  natives  were  considered. 

The  colonists  in  the  Wallamet  valley,  glad  to  be  recog 
nized  as  belonging  to  the  United  States,  even  by  the  un 
warranted  commissioning  of  a  nondescript  government 
officer,  were  proceeding  to  the  discussion  of  steps  towards 
a  political  organization,  when  they  were  startled  by  intel 
ligence  from  Fort  Vancouver  that  the  Cayuses  had  become 
openly  hostile,  having  entered  the  mission-house  at  mid- 



night,  and  proceeded  to  the  chamber  of  Mrs.  Whitman, 
who  escaped  out  of  their  hands  only  .by  the  timely  aid  of 
Mr.  Geiger.  A  few  days  later  the  mission  flouring-mill 
was  burned  down,  and  a  large  quantity  of  grain  destroyed. 
Mrs.  Whitman  had  been  compelled  to  take  refuge  with  the 
Methodist  families  at  The  Dalles,  which  place  she  reached 
by  the  kindness  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  at  Fort 
Walla  Walla,  accompanied  by  Geiger. 

The  Nez  Perces  also  had  insulted  and  ordered  out  of 
her  house  Mrs.  Spalding  at  Lapwai;  and  after  stealing- 
Mr.  Spalding's  horse,  had  pointed  a  gun  at,  and  further 
menaced  him. 

These  were  acts  of  an  unmistakable  character,  and  Dr. 
White  felt  called  upon  to  exhibit  the  authority  in  him 
vested.  He  secured  the  services  of  Thomas  McKay,  a 
noted  leader  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company's  trading 
parties,  and  much  respected  as  well  as  feared  by  the 
Indians,  with  six  other  picked  men,  to  go  to  the  scene  of 
the  disturbances.  To  this  party  were  added  Cornelius 
Rogers,  late  of  Waiilatpu,  and  Baptiste  Dorion,  as  inter 
preters.  They  were  also  joined  by  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Little- 
john,  who  wished  to  go  to  the  aid  of  the  Spaldings  at 
Lapwai,  as  they  had  agreed  to  do  before  Dr.  Whitman's 
departure.  At  The  Dalles  it  was  thought  best  for  Mrs. 
Littlejohn  to  remain  until  the  temper  of  the  Indians 
became  better  known;  but  Mr.  Geiger  accompanied  the 
excursion  to  look  after  the  mission  property  at  Waiilatpu. 

It  was  already  the  sixteenth  of  November  when  the  ex 
pedition  set  out  from  Vancouver.  Owing  to  adverse  winds 
on  the  Columbia  it  did  not  reach  The  Dalles  until  the 
twenty-fourth,  where  it  made  a  short  stay  to  procure 
horses,  arriving  at  Waiilatpu,  after  having  been  joined  at 
Walla  Walla  fort  by  Mr.  McKinlay,  on  the  first  day  of 
December.  The  Cayuses  appeared  shy,  evidently  unable 
to  believe  that  this  small  party  was  all  whom  the  a^ent  of 
the  United  States  had  brought  with  him  into  a  hostile 
country,  and  fearing  a  surprise.  White  took  little  notice 


of  them,  but  proceeded  to  Lapwai,  where  he  arrived  on  the 
third,  and  had  to  wait  for  the  upper  Nez  Perces,  to  whom 
a  courier  had  been  sent,  to  meet  him.  In  the  meantime 
he  visited  the  chiefs  in  the  vicinity,  and  the  school, 
adroitly  expressing  surprise  at  the  advancement  of  the 
pupils  in  reading  and  writing.  "  Next  day,"  he  says,  "  I 
visited  their  little  plantations,  rude,  to  be  sure,  but  success 
fully  carried  on,  so  far  as  raising  the  necessaries  of  life 
were  concerned;  and  it  was  most  gratifying  to  witness 
their  fondness  and  care  for  their  little  herds;  pigs,  poultry, 

Dr.  White  possessed  some  qualities  which  eminently 
fitted  him  to  deal  with  Indians,  as  well  as  white  men, 
among  which  was  suavity  of  manner,  and  a  desire  to  please 
as  well  as  to  be  pleased.  Accordingly,  when  the  chiefs  of 
the  Nez  Perces  were  assembled  to  the  number  of  twenty- 
two,  with  a  large  number  of  their  people,  all  giving  a  grave 
attention  to  his  words,  he  stated  the  object  of  his  visit,  and 
that  he  had  been  sent  by  the  great  chief  (president  of  the 
United  States),  to  assure  them  of  the  kind  intentions  of 
his  government,  and  the  sad  consequences  that  would 
ensue  to  any  white  man,  from  that  time,  who  should 
invade  their  rights  by  stealing,  murder,  or  selling  them 
damaged  goods,  or  alcohol.  "Without  threatening,"  he 
says,  "I  gave  them  to  understand  how  highly  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  Spalding  were  prized  by  the  numerous  whites,  and 
with  what  pleasure  the  great  chief  gave  them  a  paper 
(passport)  to  encourage  them  to  come  here  to  teach  them 
what  they  were  now  so  diligently  employed  in  obtaining, 
in  order  that  their  children  might  become  good,  wise,  and 

McKinlay  addressed  them  briefly,  alluding  to  his  several 
years'  residence  among  them,  and  the  good  understanding 
that  had  existed  between  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  and 
themselves,  and  assured  them  that  all  the  white  people, 
whether  Boston,  King  George,  or  French  (Indian  designa 
tions  for  Americans,  English,  and  Canadians)  were  one, as 


the  Nez  Perces  and  ( -ayuses  were  one  in  their  interests  and 
affections.  This  hint  that  the  Hudson's  Bay  people  would 
not  approve  of  any  abuse  of  the  missionaries,  was  softened 
by  praise  of  their  unexpected  advancement  in  arts  and 
sciences,  as  shown  by  their  farms  and  schools. 

Then  came  Mr.  Rogers  who  had  done  so  much  for  them 
in  helping  to  shape  their  written  language,  and  who  was 
a  favorite  with  the  Nez  Perces.  He  reminded  them  of  the 
good  accomplished,  and  carefully  brought  them  to  remem 
ber  the  unhappy  consequences  which  had  followed  a 
rupture  between  the  United  States  and  the  tribes  east  of 
the  mountains,  exhorting  them  to  be  reasonable  and 
accept  such  measures  as  were  for  their  advancement. 

McKay  reserved  his  remarks  to  the  last,  knowing  that 
his  mixed  blood  would  appeal  strongly  to  his  auditors. 
He  reminded  them  of  the  tragedy  of  the  Tonquin,  whereby 
he  was  left  an  orphan,  since  which  time  he  had  for  many 
years  constantly  traveled  through  and  mixed  with  the 
Oregon  tribes;  had  mingled  in  their  bloody  wars  with  the 
Blackfoot  Indians,  and  had  enjoyed  their  seasons  of  peace; 
had  suffered  the  pangs  of  hunger  with  them,  and  enjoyed 
their  feasts  and  sports,  until  weary  at  last  he  had  retired 
upon  his  plantation  in  the  Wallamet  valley,  and  was  as 
one  dead.  But  he  was  aroused  by  the  call  of  his  white 
brother,  and  now  was  again  in  their  midst,  and  was  glad. 
He  had  come  at  the  bidding  of  the  great  chief  whose 
children  were  more  numerous  than  the  stars  of  heaven  or 
the  leaves  of  the  forest.  "Will  you  hear  what  he  says?" 
asked  the  orator,  his  tall  figure  and  dark  impassioned 
face  tense  with  meaning.  "You  will!  Your  wonderful 
improvement  in  the  arts  and  sciences  prove  you  are  no 
fools.  Surely  you  will  hear;  but  if  disposed  to  close  your 
ears  and  stop  them,  they  will  be  torn  wide  open,  and  you. 
will  be  made  to  hear." 

A  proposition  appears  to  have  been  made  in  reference 
to  the  choosing  of  a  high  chief,  the  other  chiefs  to  be  his 
aids  in  carrying  out  his  commands.  It  is  not  easy  to  un- 


derstand  the  action  of  McKinlay  and  McKay  in  supporting 
this  measure,  as  the  policy  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company 
had  been  to  destroy  the  chieftainships,  thus  to  lessen  the 
danger  from  combined  action  among  the  Indians.  They 
may  have  seen  that  the  rivalry  that  would  be  called  into 
play  would  be  an  effectual  check  on  combination,  or  they 
may  have  feared  to  injure  White's  influence  by  objecting. 

After  an  impressive  silence,  Five  Crows  of  the  Umatilla 
branch  of  the  Cayuses,  a  wealthy  chief  about  forty-five 
years  of  age,  and  dressed  in  English  fashion,  arose  apolo 
gizing  for  doing  so  on  account  of  his  youth  when  compared 
with  other  chiefs  present,  saying  he  had  hopes  of  better 
days  before  him,  seeing  the  white  men  united  in  the 
matter;  his  people  had  much  wanted  something,  they 
hardly  knew  what,  and  had  been  groping  in  darkness;  but 
here  was  something:  Should  they  accept  it? 

After  Five  Crows,  the  oldest  of  the  Nez  Perces,  the 
Bloody  Chief,  who  had  been  high  chief  of  his  tribe  when 
Lewis  and  Clarke  explored  the  country,  arose  and  referred 
to  the  friendship  between  him  and  the  first  white  men  who 
had  visited  this  region.  UI  showed  them,"  said  he,  "my 
many  wounds  received  in  battle  with  the  Snakes;  they 
told  me  it  was  not  good;  it  was  better  to  be  at  peace;  gave 
me  a  flag  of  truce;1  I  held  it  up  high;  we  met  and  talked, 
but  never  fought  again.  Clarke  pointed  to  this  day,  to 
you,  and  this  occasion.  We  have  long  waited  in  expecta 
tion.  We  sent  three  of  our  sons  to  Red-river  school  to 
prepare  for  it.  Two  of  them  sleep  with  their  fathers;  the 
other  is  here,  and  can  be  ears,  mouth,  arid  pen  for  us.  I 
can  say  no  more.  I  am  quickly  tired;  my  voice  and  limbs 
tremble.  I  am  glad  I  live  to  see  you  this  day,  but  I  shall 
soon  be  still  and  quiet  in  death." 

Following  this  speech,  which  was  affecting  from  its  sim 
plicity  and  pathos,  several  of  the  younger  chiefs  spoke, 

is  undoubtedly  an  error  of  the  interpreter's.  Lewis  and  Clarke  gave  this 
chief  a  United  States  flag,  explaining  to  him  its  meaning.  Hence,  he  says,  "I  held 
it  up  high."  He  was  called  Twisted  Hair  by  the  explorers. 


after  which  there  was  an  adjournment  of  three  hours  to 
allow  them  to  deliberate  among  themselves.  On  reassem 
bling  White  alluded  to  some  of  the  offenses  committed  by 
the  young  men,  and  not  sanctioned  by  the  chiefs  or  old 
men,  as  he  hoped;  but,  where  the  chiefs  had  done  wrong, 
he  attributed  it  to  a  misunderstanding  of  what  they  had 
been  taught,  or  other  mitigating  causes.  He  then  advised 
them  to  choose  a  high  chief;  and  that  all  the  chiefs  should 
have  a  bodyguard  to  execute  the  laws.  The  code  prepared 
by  him  was  then  presented  for  adoption,  as  follows:— 

Article  1.     Whoever  wilfully  takes  life  shall  be  hung. 

Article  2.     Whoever  burns  a  dwelling  shall  be  hung. 

Article  3.  Whoever  burns  an  outbuilding  shall  be  im 
prisoned  six  months,  receive  fifty  lashes,  and  pay  all  dam 

Article  4.  Whoever  carelessly  burns  a  house,  or  any 
property,  shall  pay  damages. 

Article  5.  If  any  one  enter  a  dwelling,  without  per 
mission  of  the  occupant,  the  chiefs  shall  punish  him  as 
they  think  proper.  Public  rooms  are  excepted. 

Article  6.  If  any  one  steal,  he  shall  pay  back  two-fold; 
and  if  it  be  the  value  of  a  beaver  skin  or  less,  he  shall 
receive  twenty-five  lashes;  and  if  the  value  is  over  a  beaver 
skin,  he  shall  pay  back  two-fold,  and  receive  fifty  lashes. 

Article  7.  If  any  one  take  a  horse  and  ride  it  without 
permission,  or  take  any  article  and  use  it  without  liberty, 
he  shall  pay  for  the  use  of  it,  and  receive  from  twenty  to 
fifty  lashes,  as  the  chief  shall  direct. 

Article  8.  If  any  one  enter  a  field  and  injure  the  crops, 
or  throw  down  the  fence  so  that  cattle  or  horses  go  in  and 
do  damage,  he  shall  pay  all  damages,  and  receive  twenty- 
five  lashes  for  every  offense. 

Article  9.  Those  only  may  keep  dogs  who  travel  or 
live  among  the  game.  If  a  dog  kill  a  lamb,  calf,  or  any 
domestic  animal,  the  owner  shall  pay  the  damages  and 
kill  the  dog. 

Article  10.     If  an  Indian  raise  a  gun  or  other  weapon 

THE   CAYUtiE  WAH.  49 

against  a  white  man,  it  shall  be  reported  to  the  chiefs,  and 
they  shall  punish  it.  If  a  white  man  do  the  same  to  an 
Indian,  it  shall  be  reported  to  Dr.  White,  and  he  shall 
punish  or  redress  it. 

Article  11.  If  an  Indian  break  these  laws,  he  shall  be 
punished  by  his  chiefs;  if  a  white  man  break  them,  he 
shall  be  reported  to  the  agent,  and  punished  at  his  instance. 

To  these -laws  the  Nez  Perces  gave  their  assent  with 
apparent  willingness,  even  advocating  making  some  of  the 
penalties  more  severe,  and  adding  the  dog  law.  The  chiefs 
were  astute  enough  to  see  how  much  power  it  placed  in 
their  hands,  although  each  law  had  been  framed  for  the 
protection  of  the  white  race.  But  to  find  a  man  among 
them  willing  to  assume  the  responsibility,  together  with 
the  power,  was  not  so  easy  as  might  have  been  expected. 

The  election  was  to  be  unanimous,  and  to  be  closed  by 
the  next  day  at  ten  o'clock,  after  which,  if  all  should  be 
amicabb'  settled,  a  fat  ox  was  to  be  slaughtered,  and  they 
were  to  dine  with  the  white  chiefs.  As  a  feast  will  settle 
knotty  questions  in  most  quarters  of  the  globe,  so  this  one 
in  anticipation  put  the  Nez  Perces  in  high  good  humor, 
and  after  referring  many  times  to  McKay  and  Rogers  for 
advice,  very  sparingly  given,  they  made  choice  of  Ellis,  of 
Kamiah,  who  was  possessed  of  much  influence  among  the 
whole  Nez  Perce  nation.  This  was  the  same  Ellis  who 
started  with  Gray  for  the  states,  and  whom  Mr.  Spalding 
would  have  had  whipped  for  deserting  him.  He  was  now 
thirty-two  years  of  age,  and  having  been  sent  to  school  at 
Red  river,  spoke  and  wrote  English  passably  well,  being 
also  the  owner  of  a  plantation,  some  sheep  and  neat  stock, 
and  eleven  hundred  head  of  horses. 

The  election  being  announced  the  multitude  partook  of 
fat  beef,  corn,  aad  pease  to  repletion,  smoking  afterwards 
the  friendly  pipe  until  evening,  when  a  special  meeting  of 
the  head  men  was  called  to  consider  the  grievances  of 
which  Mr.  Spalding  or  the  Indians  had  to  complain.  Ellis 
throughout  conducted  himself  in  a  sensible  manner,  and 


these  difficulties  were  disposed  of.  Finally,  on  the  follow 
ing  day,  another  meeting  was  held,  at  which  questions  were 
asked  and  answered  with  a  view  to  enlightening  the  In 
dians  concerning  the  sentiments  and  laws  of  white  people. 

"I  advised  in  many  matters,"  says  White,  " especially  in 
reference  to  begging,  or  even  receiving  presents  without  in 
some  way  returning  an  equivalent;  pointed  out  in  strong 
language  who  beggars  are  among  the  whites,  and  how  re 
garded;  and  commended  them  for  not  once  troubling  me 
during  my  stay  with  this  disgusting  practice;  and  as  a 
token  of  respect  now,  at  the  close  of  our  long  and  happy 
meeting,  they  would  please  accept,  in  the  name  of  my 
great  chief,  a  present  of  fifty  garden  hoes,  not  for  those  in 
authority,  or  such  as  had  no  need  of  them,  but  for  the 
chiefs  and  Mr.  Spalding  to  distribute  among  their  indus 
trious  poor." 

Before  leaving,  White  prepared  some  medicines  to  be 
given  the  poor  as  they  should  be  required;  and  exhorted 
all  to  be  in  obedience  to  their  chiefs,  and  to  look  upon  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Spalding  as  their  father  and  mother,  reserving 
all  points  of  difference  to  be  settled  when  he  returned  in 
the  spring.  He  was  then  escorted  several  miles  upon  his 
way,  when  the  chiefs  parted  from  him  in  high  good  humor; 
and  Mr.  Spalding  afterwards  wrote  that  the  Nez  Perces  were 
quiet  during  the  winter ;  so  easy  was  it,  apparently,  for  a 
man  with  some  tact  to  secure  the  good  will  and  confidence 
of  these  adult  children. 

A  report  sent  to  the  sub-agent  by  Mr.  Spalding  in  the 
spring  contains  many  interesting  facts  concerning  the  Nez 
Perces  at  this  time,  in  which  he  commended  their  industry 
and  quickness  of  intellect,  though  giving  an  unflattering 
summing  up  of  their  moral  characteristics  as  observed  by 
him  in  his  intercourse  with  them ;  but  confesses  that  when 
he  attempts  to  hold  it  up  as  an  exception  to  other  nations 
without  the  wholesome  restraints  of  law,  and  strangers  to 
the  influence  of  enlightened  society,  he  is  unable  to  do  it. 

Returning  to  Waiilatpu,  Dr.  White  found  awaiting-  him 

THE   CAY  USE  WAR.  51 

Tauitowe  (sometimes  called  the  young  chief),  head  man 
of  the  Cayuses  on  the  Uinatilla,  and  brother  of  Five 
Crows;  and  Feather  Cap,  belonging  to  Tiloukaikt's  camp 
at  Waiilatpu,  with  a  few  other  chiefs  from  the  three  prin 
cipal  Cayuse  camps,  the  third  of  which  was  half  way  be 
tween  the  two  just  mentioned,  and  governed  by  Camaspelo. 
It  was  at  once  evident  that  much  disaffection  existed  here, 
which  it  would  be  difficult  to  cure,  and  White  put  forward 
Rogers  and  McKay  as  better  informed  how  to  deal  with 
it  than  he.  "  They  had  not  proceeded  far,"  says  White  in 
his  report,  "before  Feather  Cap,  for  the  first  time  in  his  life, 
so  far  as  we  know,  commenced  weeping,  and  wished  to  see 
me ;  said  his  heart  was  sick,  and  he  could  not  live  long  as 
he  now  felt."  The  cause  of  Feather  Cap's  tears  was  the 
knowledge  of  his  own  guilt,  the  information  that  the  Nez 
Perces  had  accepted  the  laws,  and  the  fear  that  the  Cayuses 
would  do  the  same,  when  he  would  be  in  a  bad  case. 
Tauitowe  had  at  first  no  tears  to  shed,  and  he  had  some 
charges  to  bring  against  the  white  race, —  three-fourths  of 
whom,  he  said,  though  teaching  the  purest  doctrines,  were 
in  practice  bad  men, —  an  opinion  founded  upon  what  he 
had  observed  among  mountain  men  when  he  had  been  on 
the  buffalo  hunt.  He  was  shown  that  such  examples  did 
not  apply  in  the  present  instance,  and  finally  admitted  it, 
and  in  a  speech  in  which  he  related  his  troubles  as  high 
chief,  wept  freely.  He  had  flogged2  his  young  men,  and 
reproved  the  middle-aged,  until  having  none  to  sustain 
him,  his  popularity  had  so  declined  he  was  "left  alone  to 
say  his  payers  and  go  to  bed  to  weep  over  the  follies  and 
wickedness  of  his  people." 

When 'Rogers  and  McKay  had  aroused  the  chiefs  to 
remorse,  they  were  sent  to  Dr.  White,  who  magnanimously 
promised  to  refrain  from  punishing  any  but  the  actually 
guilty.  The  settlement  of  the  count  against  them  —  the 
offense  against  Mrs.  Whitman  and  the  destruction  of  Dr. 
Whitman's  property,  was  allowed  to  stand  over  until 

-Flogging  was  a  punishment  first  instituted  by  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company. 


spring,  when  a  final  adjustment  would  be  made  if  a  ma 
jority  of  the  principal  men  could  be  brought  together  by 
the  tenth  of  April.  The  Cayuses  were  then  left  to  their 

At  The  Dalles,  on  returning,  White  held  a  four  days' 
meeting  with  the  Indians  of  Mr.  Perkins'  mission,  whom 
he  found  in  a  state  of  great  excitement,  all  kinds  of  rumors 
being  afloat  among  them  of  the  intentions  of  the  sub-agent 
towards  them,  and  having  a  well-founded  conviction  that 
individually  and  collectively  they  had  broken,  and  should 
continue  to  break  the  white  men's  laws.  But  at  the  end 
of  the  four  days  they  were  persuaded  to  accept  the  code, 
and  in  the  winter  H.  B.  Brewer,  farmer  of  The  Dalles 
mission,  reported  them  living  up  to  the  regulations,  and 
cutting  logs  for  houses.  "For  the  least  transgression  of 
the  laws,"  wrote  Brewer,  "they  are  punished  by  their  chiefs 
immediately.  The  clean  faces  of  some,  and  the  tidy 
dresses  of  others,  show  the  good  effects  of  your  visit." 

White  had  hardly  reached  the  Wallamet  before  he  was 
called  to  Astoria  to  settle  a  difficulty  created  by  a  deserting 
sailor  from  some  vessel  in  the  Columbia,  who  had  insti 
gated  the  Indians  to  threaten  the  life  of  one  of  the  mission 
aries  at  Clatsop.  The  man  was  arrested,  and  the  matter 
settled  by  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  allowing  him  to  be 
sent  out  of  the  country  in  charge  of  one  of  their  trading 

Thus  passed  the  winter  of  1842-3,  when  in  the  spring  a 
fresh  agitation  disturbed  the  American  colonists.  Whether 
justly  or  unjustly,  Baptiste  Dorion,  son  of  that  Madam 
Dorion,  celebrated  in  Irving's  Astoria  for  her  courage  and 
endurance  in  crossing  the  mountains  and  plains  with 
Hunt's  party,  was  charged  with  being  the  incendiary 
spirit  who  influenced  the  minds  of  the  Indians  with  tales 
of  the  intended  seizure  of  their  country  by  people  from  the 
United  States. 

It  seems  that  Dorion,  who  acted  as  one  of  White's  inter 
preters,  remained  in  the  upper  countnr,  and  it  may  have 

THE    CAY  USE  WAR.  53 

been  quite  true  that  he,  with  half-caste  cunning  and 
suspicion,  lit  the  smoldering  fires  in  the  haughty  hearts  of 
the  Cayuse  chiefs  and  their  allies,  which  threatened  to 
break  out  into  a  raging  conflagration.  But  Hines,  in  his 
Oregon,  remarks  upon  other  causes  for  discontent  and  sus 
picion  :  "  The  fulfillment  of  the  laws,"  he  says,  "  which 
the  agent  recommended  for  their  adoption  was  required 
by  Ellis  with  the  utmost  vigor.  Individuals  were  severely 
punished  for  crimes  which,  from  time  immemorial,  had 
been  committed  by  the  people  with  impunity.  They  saw 
in  the  laws  a  deep  laid  scheme  of  the  whites  to  destroy 
them,  and  take  possession  of  their  country."  This  sus 
picion  received  confirmation  when  they  recollected  that 
Dr.  White  himself  brought  a  large  party  into  the  country 
with  him;  and  by  the  threat  of  Dr.  Whitman  that  he 
would  bring  many  people  to  punish  them  for  their  mis 
deeds,  a  calamity  they  were  looking  forward  to,  at  the  end 
of  summer.  So  firm  was  their  conviction,  that  many  of 
the  Cayuses  refused  to  cultivate  their  plantations  in  the 
spring  of  1843,  and  were  full  of  suppressed  excitement. 

So  much  had  their  belief  in  the  treachery  of  the  white 
people  grown  upon  them  during  the  winter  that  they  pre 
vailed  upon  the  Walla  Walla  chief,  Peu-peu-mox-mox 
(Yellow  Serpent),  to  visit  Fort  Vancouver,  and  ask  advice 
from  the  head  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company.  The  reply 
of  Dr.  McLoughlin  was  that  he  did  not  believe  the  Amer 
icans  intended  to  go  to  war,  and  that  if  they  should  do  so 
incredible  a  thing,  the  company  would  not  support  them  in 
it;  and  the  chief  returned  comforted,  after  which  the  Cay- 
uses  began  again  to  hoe  their  little  gardens. 

It  appears  that  Dr.  White  did  not  keep  his  appointment 
with  the  Nez  Perces,  probably  for  want  of  means;  but 
about  the  time  he  should  have  done  so,  such  news  was  re 
ceived  from  the  upper  country  relative  to  the  designs  of 
the  Indians  in  that  region  that  he  was  forced  to  make  an 
effort  to  go  among  them.  According  to  Mr.  Hines,  the 
Wall  am  et  settlements  were  "  thrown  into  a  panic,"  the  Cay- 


uses,  Nez  Perces,  and  Waila  Wallas  having  "threatened  the 
destruction  of  the  whites."  A  letter  was  received  from  H- 
K.  W.  Perkins  of  The  Dalles,  containing  the  information 
furnished  by  the  Walla  Walla  and  Wascopum  or  Dalles 
Indians,  that  all  these  tribes  were  much  exasperated 
against  the  white  people  on  account  of  the  belief  that  they 
were  corning  to  take  away  their  lands;  and  it  was  stated 
that  the  Nez  Perces,  during  the  winter,  had  dispatched  one 
of  their  chiefs  on  snowshoes,  to  visit  the  Indians  east  of 
Fort  Hall  to  incite  them  to  cut  off  the  party  which  Dr. 
Whitman  had  told  them  he  would  bring  back  with  him 
"to  settle  the  Nez  Perces  country;"  and  that  a  coalition 
was  forming  for  the  destruction  of  the  Americans — not  a 
part  of  them  only,  but  every  one. 

The  terror  of  the  Americans,  thus,  for  the  first  time, 
brought  actually  to  face  a  danger  they  had  before  only 
vaguely  imagined,  was  very  great.  "In  the  estimation  of 
some,"  says  Hines,  "  the  Indians  were  to  be  upon  us  imme 
diately,  and  it  was  unsafe  to  retire  at  night,  for  fear  the 
settlement  would  be  attacked  before  morning.  The  plan 
of  the  agent  was  to  induce  men  to  pledge  themselves, 
under  the  forfeiture  of  one  hundred  dollars  in  case  of  de 
linquency,  to  keep  constantly  on  hand  and  ready  for  use 
either  a  good  musket  or  rifle,  and  one  hundred  charges  of 
ammunition,  and  to  hold  themselves  in  readiness  to  go  at 
the  call  of  the  agent  to  any  part  of  the  country,  not  to  ex 
ceed  two  days'  travel,  for  the  purpose  of  defending  the 
settlement,  and  repelling  any  savage  invaders.  This  plan 
pleased  some  of  the  people,  and  they  put  down  their  names; 
but  many  were  much  dissatisfied  with  it,  and  as  we  had 
no  authority,  no  law,  no  order,  for  the  time  being  in  the 
country,  it  was  impossible  to  tell  what  would  be  the  result 
if  the  Indians  should  attempt  to  carry  their  threats  into 

To  increase  the  excitement,  it  was  reported  that  the 
Klikitats  were  collecting  on  that  portion  of  the  Wallamet 
plains  which  now  constitutes  Washington  county,  and  the 


people,  about  thirty  families,  residing  there,  were  much 
alarmed.  A  Calapooya  chief  also  living  near  the  Metho 
dist  mission,  incensed  because  one  of  his  people  had  been 
Hogged,  by  order  of  Dr.  White,  for  stealing  a  horse  from 
the  missionaries  and  flour  from  the  mill  at  Salem,  had 
gone  away  declaring  he  would  return  with  a  force  to  drive 
away  the  Americans. 

"The  colony  is  indeed  in  a  most  defenseless  condition," 
remarks  Hines;  "two  hundred  Indians  divided  into  four 
bands  might  destroy  the  whole  settlement  in  one  night." 

White  had  no  less  than  eight  prisoners,  white  and  red, 
on  his  hands  at  this  time,  and  the  adjustment  of  these 
affairs  was  occasioning  no  little  trouble;  but  happily  the 
Indians  in  the  vicinity  of  the  settlements  were  more  brawl 
ers  than  fighters,  and  the  dreaded  outbreak  was  averted  for 
the  time  being. 

On  the  twentieth  of  April,  1843,  another  letter  was  re 
ceived  from  Mr.  Brewer  at  The  Dalles,  stating  that  the 
Indians  in  the  interior  still  talked  much  of  war  between 
themselves,  and  that  the  white  people  in  their  midst  had 
much  to  fear  from  their  moocl.  White  then  hastened  to 
keep  his  appointment  made  in  December,  in  order,  if  pos 
sible,  to  remove  from  their  minds  the  excitement  origi 
nating  in  Dr.  Whitman's  promise,  and  confirmed,  it  was 
said,  by  what  Dr.  White  had  told  them  in  the  council  of 
December — this  latter  being  by  inference  only. 

But  now  the  United  States  agent  found  himself  in  a 
very  delicate  position.  United  States  authority  and  the 
national  treasury  were  a  long  way  off.  No  government  of 
any  kind  existed  in  Oregon;  no  force  was  there  with  which 
to  intimidate  the  Indians,  should  force  be  necessary;  no 
public  funds  to  draw  upon  for  presents  to  pacify  the  sus 
picions  of  the  Cayuses  and  Nez  Perces;  and  to  add  to  the 
hopelessness  of  the  situation,  the  settlers  had  just  previ 
ously  dispatched  to  congress  a  memorial,  charging  the 
Hudson's  Bay  Company  in  Oregon  with  every  species  of 
tyranny  and  injustice  towards  the  Americans,  and  particu- 


larly  accusing  Dr.  McLoughlin  of  intending  to  injure  them. 

Now,  as  in  all  their  necessities  past,  or  likely  to  come  for 
some  time,  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company,  governed  by  Dr. 
McLoughlin,  had  been  and  still  was  an  ever-present  help 
in  time  of  trouble,  this  memorial  was  but  a  poor  return 
for  kindnesses;  but  at  this  particular  juncture  of  affairs  it 
seemed  likely  to  prove  a  serious  blunder,  as  Dr.  McLough 
lin  was  much  incensed  that  such  a  document  should  be 
laid  before  the  congress  of  the  United  States,  and  in  his 
just  wrath  had  declared  he  would  extend  no  more  favors  to 
its  authors. 

Dr.  White  did  not  consider  that  he  came  under  the  ban, 
being  neither  an  author  or  signer  of  the  memorial  —  he 
was  rather  under  the  ban  of  his  countrymen  for  not  being 
one  or  the  other.  He  determined  to  try  his  persuasive 
powers  at  Vancouver,3  and  accompanied  by  Rev.  Gustavus 
Hines,  and  G.  W.  Le  Breton,  an  enthusiastic  young  Amer 
ican,  proceeded  to  that  place  on  the  twenty-filth,  attended 
only  by  one  Indian  boy,  and  one  Kanaka,  neither  Cana 
dians  nor  American  colonists  being  found  to  undertake 
the  dangerous  service.  The  former,  it  was  alleged,  and 
with  reason,  were  ordered  by  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company 
to  remain  quiet  at  home;  while  the  latter  found  this 
advice  good  as  concerned  themselves. 

There  being  no  roads  in  Oregon  at  this  period,  travel 
was  usually  performed,  in  a  leisurely  manner,  by  canoe. 
On  the  way  the  agent's  party  was  met  at  two  different 
points  by  a  courier  with  letters  from  Dr.  McLoughlin,  dis 
couraging  the  undertaking.  One  enclosed  a  communica 
tion  from  Rev.  Demers,  Catholic  priest,  just  returned  from 

:i  White's  salary  was  seven  hundred  and  fifty  dollars,  with  the  guaranty  that  when 
Linn's  bill  passed  it  should  be  doubled  ;  and  with  verbal  permission  to  draw  upon 
government  funds  to  meet  his  necessary  expenses.  He  had  difficulty  afterwards  in 
collecting  for  himself;  and  the  board  of  management  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company 
found  nobody  in  Washington  to  honor  White's  order.  The  London  managers  sar 
castically  informed  the  company  in  Oregon  that  they  "  did  not  understand  govern 
ment  securities,"  arid  advised  them  to  "stick  to  their  beaver  skins."  After  several 
years  congress  made  an  appropriation  to  discharge  both  obligations  on  account  of 
the  Indian  service  in  Oregon,  and  Wliite  was  given  another  appointment  on  the 
Pacific  coast. 

THE   CAY  USE  WAR.  57 

a  mission  to  the  interior,  who  reiterated  what  was  known 
before,  that  the  Indians  were  angry  only  with  the  "  Boston  r 
people  or  Americans,  who  they  had  declared,  should  not 
have  their  lands  or  take  away  their  liberties.  Such  being 
the  truth  beyond  doubt,  Dr.  McLoughliii  still  urged  the 
policy  of  keeping  away  from  them,  and  it  was  evident  he 
feared  an  uprising,  so  easily  brought  about  by  slight  indis 
cretions  among  these  ignorant  people. 

But  White  and  Hines  kept  on,  arriving  at  Vancouver 
on  the  evening  of  the  twenty-eighth.  Says  Hines  con 
cerning  what  followed :  "  Called  on  Dr.  McLoughlin  for 
goods,  provisions,  powder,  balls,  etc.,  for  our  accommoda 
tion  on  our  voyage  up  the  Columbia,  and  though  he  was 
greatly  surprised  that,  under  the  circumstances,  we  should 
think  of  going  among  these  excited  Indians,  yet  he  ordered 
his  clerks  to  let  us  have  whatever  we  wanted.  However, 
we  found  it  rather  squally  at  the  fort,  not  so  much  on 
account  of  our  going  among  the  Indians  of  the  interior,  as 
in  consequence  of  a  certain  memorial  having  been  sent  to 
the  United  States  congress  implicating  the  conduct  of  Dr. 
McLoughlin  and  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company,  and  bearing 
the  signatures  of  seventy  Americans.  I  inquired  of  the 
doctor  if  he  had  refused  to  grant  supplies  to  those  Ameri 
cans  who  had  signed  that  document.  He  replied  that  he 
had  not,  but  that  the  authors  of  the  memorial  need  expect 
no  more  favors  from  him.  Not  being  one  of  the  authors, 
but  merely  a  signer  of  the  petition,  I  did  not  come  under 
the  ban  of  the  company;  consequently  I  obtained  my  out 
fit  for  the  expedition,  though  at  first  there  were  strong 
indications  that  I  would  be  refused." 

Thus  the  Americans  in  Oregon  were  furnished  with  the 
means  of  protecting  themselves  against  the  alleged  hostile 
influence  of  the  company  whose  acts  they  continually 
denounced  in  their  memorials, —  furnished  at  a  long  credit 
besides,  and  the  risk  of  disturbing  the  company's  relations 
with  the  Indians  and  the  home  board, —  because  Dr.  Mc 
Loughlin  was  too  magnanimous  to  oppose  himself  to  a 



helpless  community,  however  undeserving  his  favor  it 
might  be. 

On  the  twenty-ninth  Dr.  White,  Hines,  and  Le  Breton 
made  a  final  start  from  Vancouver.  At  The  Dalles,  where 
they  arrived  May  fourth,  they  were  met  by  delegates  from 
the  tribes  in  that  vicinity,  who  had  accepted  the  laws  in 
the  previous  December.  They  complained  that  the  high 
chief  elected,  and  his  aids,  had  them  punished  for  trifling 
offenses,  for  doing  what  they  had  always  been  in  the  habit 
of  doing,  and  there  had  been  broils  among  themselves  in 

"  Those  appointed  by  Dr.  White,"  says  Hines,  "  were  de 
sirous  that  his  regulations  should  continue,  because  they 
placed  the  people  under  their  absolute  control,  and  gave 
them  the  power  to  regulate  all  their  intercourse  with  the 
whites,  and  with  the  other  Indian  tribes.  But  the  other 
influential  men  who  were  not  in  office  desired  to  know  of 
Dr.  White  of  what  benefit  this  whipping  system  was  going 
to  be  to  them.  They  said  they  were  willing  it  should  con 
tinue  provided  they  were  to  receive  shirts,  and  pants,  and 
blankets  as  a  reward  for  being  whipped.  They  had  been 
whipped  a  good  many  times  and  got  nothing  for  it,  and  it 
had  done  them  no  good.  If  this  state  of  things  was  to 
continue,  it  was  all  cultus.  (good  for  nothing),  and  they 
would  throw  it  away.  The  doctor  wished  them  to  under 
stand  that  they  need  not  expect  pay  for  being  flogged 
when  they  deserved  it.  They  laughed  at  the  idea  and 

From  this  it  would  appear  that  no  more  serious  trouble 
existed  among  these  Indians  than  from  their  worthless 
character  might  be  expected  at  any  time.  But  nothing 
is  more  difficult  than  to  learn  the  truth  of  an  Indian 
rumor.  The  difference  between  the  stories  told  to  White 
present,  and  carried  to  White  absent,  was  the  difference  be 
tween  a  tragedy  and  a  comedy. 

The  agent  did  not  tarry  long  at  The  Dalles,  but  pro 
ceeded  next  day  on  his  journey,  accompanied  by  Mr. 

THE   CAY  USE  WAR.  59 

Perkins.  Mrs.  Whitman  had  returned  to  Waiilatpu  a 
month  before  with  Mr.  Geiger,  thinking,  perhaps,  to  re 
assure  the  Cayuses  by  her  presence  in  their  midst,  and  was 
anxiously  looking  for  the  agent. 

The  effect  of  the -appearance  among  them  of  so  small  a 
party,  who  they  knew  must  have  been  informed  of  their 
threatened  hostilities,  was.  to  excite  both  admiration  and 
doubt  in  the  minds  of  the  Cayuses.  It  was  difficult  for 
them  to  believe  that  there  was  not  a  large  party  concealed 
somewhere  near,  which  only  waited  for  them  to  assemble 
to  rush  upon  them  and  cut  them  off  at  a  blow.  It  did  not 
take  long  to  learn  that  the  young  men  of  the  tribe  had 
been  in  favor  of  raising  a  war  party  to  go  down  to  the 
Wallamet  and  take  the  settlements  by  surprise.  But  the 
older  chiefs  held  them  back  by  pointing  out  the  lateness 
of  the  season,  and  the  depth  of  snow  in  the  mountains. 
They  also  added  that  it  would  be  wiser  to  remain  on  the 
defensive  than  to  attempt  to  cut  off  all  the  white  people 
on  their  own  ground ;  and  they  recalled  what  Mr.  McKln- 
lay  and  McKay  had  said  —  that  in  case  of  insurrection 
there  would  be  no  difference  of  nationality  between  the 
English,  French,  and  Americans,  but  they  would  all  stand 
together.  They  fully  expected,  however,  at  one  time,  and 
were  still  full  of  the  suspicion  that  they  would  be  com 
pelled  to  go  to  war. 

"  On  convincing  them  of  my  defenseless  condition,"  says 
White,  "and  pacific  intentions,  they  were  quite  astounded 
and  much  affected,  assuring  me  they  had  been  under 
strong  apprehensions,  having  learned  I  was  soon  to  visit 
them  with  a  large  armed  party  with  hostile  intentions,  and 
I  actually  found  them  suffering  more  from  fears  of  war 
from  the  whites,  than  the  whites  from  (fear  of)  the  In 

This  attitude  of  the  Cayuses  at  this  time  is  confirmed 
by  Hines  also,  who  says,  "They  frequently  remarked  to 
Mr.  Geiger  that  they  did  not  wish  to  go  to  war;  but  if  the 
Americans  came  to  take  a  way  their  lands  and  make  slaves 


of  them,  they  would  fight  so  long  as  they  had  a  drop  of 
blood  to  shed." 

The  agent's  party  felt  much  uneasiness  in  view  of  the 
rumors  that  were  afloat,  on  learning  that  seven  hundred 
Nez  Perces,  fully  armed,  were  preparing  to  come  to  the 
rendezvous  of  Waiilatpu;  and  it  was  feared  that  unless 
the  Cayuses  should  first  have  submitted  to  the  regulations 
offered,  a  quarrel  might  arise,  which  would  terminate  in 
hostilities.  To  prevent  such  a  catastrophe,  an  effort  was 
made  to  gain  the  consent  of  the  Cayuses  to  hold  a  council 
at  once.  But  no  arguments  or  persuasions  availed  any 
thing — they  would  hold  no  council  without  the  presence 
of  their  allies.  So  suspicious  were  they  that  they  would 
not  at  first  accede  to  White's  proposal  to  go  himself  to 
Lapwai  and  hasten  the  arrival  of  the  Nez  Perces;  and  they 
were  right  in  thinking  he  had  some  other  motive,  for  he 
was  anxious  to  learn  the -temper  of  the  Nez  Perces  before 
allowing  the  two  nations  to  meet. 

There  were  also  jealousies  to  be  overcome,  some  fearing 
Ellis,  with  his  large  following,  might  be  used  to  subjugate 
them.  At  the  same  time  that  a  part  of  them  insisted  on 
Ellis'  presence  at  a  council,  another  faction  opposed  a 
council  on  any  terms  whatever.  Thus  several  days  were 
spent  in  studying  the  situation  from  all  points  of  view. 

During  the  period  of  parleying,  the  Cayuses  invited  Dr. 
White  and  his  party  to  make  an  excursion  among  their 
plantations,  and  see  what  they  had  done,  to  which  propo 
sition  the  agent  willingly  acceded. 

Hines  has  described,  with  some  humor,  Feather  Cap,  the 
leader.  He  says  he  possessed  a  countenance  extraordi 
narily  savage,  but  a  dignified  mein,  and  a  voice  of  com 
mand.  He  was  dressed  in  skin  breeches,  a  striped  shirt, 
which  he  wore  over  his  breeches,  and  a  scarlet  coat 
trimmed  to  imitate  the  uniform  of  a  British  general.  On 
his  head  was  first  a  cotton  handkerchief,"  thrown  over 
loosely;  this  was  surmounted  by  an  otter-skin  cap,  on  top 
of  which  was  fastened  the  long  hair  of  a  white  horse-tail, 

THE    CAYUSE  WAR.  61 

which  hung  in  ringlets  down  his  neck.  Mr.  Geiger,  who 
was  a  small  man,  was  mounted  on  a  donkey,  also  very 
small  and  very  antic,  which  gave  the  Indians  much  cause 
for  laughter.  Mrs.  Whitman  accompanied  them  on  horse 
back,  as  did  Mr.  Perkins,  whose  legs  were  as  long  as 
Geiger's  were  short.  Two  Indian  women  in  calico  dresses, 
riding  astride,  one  with  a  child  before  her,  and  three 
Indian  men,  with  Hines  and  White,  completed  the  party. 

The  Indians  were  pleased  to  show  their  farms.  They 
realized  that  their  condition  as  to  food  was  vastly  improved 
over  what  it  was  when  the  first  Americans  visited  them. 
It  was  found  that  sixty  Cay  uses  were  cultivating  each  a 
small  piece  of  ground  in  wheat,  corn,  pease,  and  potatoes; 
arid  they  were  pleased  to  be  commended  for  their  industry. 

Rather  late  in  the  day  Mr.  Perkins  left  the  party  to  go 
to  the  camps  of  Tauitowe  and  Five  Crows,  and  also  that  of 
Peu-peu-mox-mox,  to  invite  them  to  a  conference  at 
Waiilatpu.  He  spent  the  night  at  the  lodge  of  the  latter 
dignitary,  whose  son  Elijah  Hedding  had  been  for  a  time 
in  the  Methodist  mission  school  in  the  Wallamet  valley. 
The  chief  and  the  missionary  had  evening  prayers  together, 
all  the  family  joining  in  the  exercises;  and  in  the  morning 
Perkins  was  so  early  in  the  saddle  that  he  surprised 
Tauitowe  in  the  act  of  calling  his  people  together  for  the 
daily  religious  service  by  ringing  a  bell.  His  prayer, 
according  to  the  report  of  Perkins,  was,  as  he  slipped  his 
beads,  "We  are  poor,  we  are  poor,  we  are  poor,"  ten  times, 
closing  with  "Good  Father,  good  son,  good  spirit,"  until 
the  beads  were  all  counted  —  a  petition  which  meant  as 
much  to  the  Indian  as  the  long  orations  addressed  to  the 
Infinite  in  thousands  of  enlightened  pulpits. 

The  chiefs  invited  by  Perkins  declined  to  meet  for  the 
purpose  of  considering  the  laws  without  the  presence  of 
Ellis,  whose  approbation  of  any  course  they  might  pursue 
appeared  to  be  by  them  considered  of  the  highest  im 
portance.  Finding  them  immovable,  White  finally  relin 
quished  the  effort  to  have  the  Cayuses  committed  to  the 


adoption  of  the  laws  before  being  joined  by  the  Nez  Perces, 
and, set  out  for  Lapwai,  as  he  told  the  Cayuses,  to  hasten 
their  coming,  but  really  to  gain  from  them  a  pledge  to  use 
their  influence  for  the  laws  with  this  people,  or  to  stay  at 

The  agent  and  his  party  were  warmly  welcomed  at  Lap 
wai  by  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Spalding,  and  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Littlejohn, 
whom  White  had  sent  to  the  assistance  of  the  mission  dur 
ing  the  winter.  Ellis,  who  was  at  Kamiah,  sixty  miles 
away,  was  sent  for.  Meanwhile  the  agent  was  informed 
of  the  progress  of  the  people  in  learning  and  religion. 
Two  hundred  Indians  attended  religious  services  on  Sun 
day.  Joseph,  the  second  chief  of  the  Nez  Perces,  had 
already  been  received  into  the  church ;  also  Timothy,  an 
other  chief,  and  thirty  others  stood  proposed  for  member 
ship.  Accordingly,  Mr.  Spalding  determined  to  strengthen 
the  hands  of  the  agent  by  receiving  these  into  the  church, 
and  on  Sunday,  May  14,  1843,  the  Presbyterian  church 
at  Lapwai  was  augmented  by  thirty  Nez  Perce  members. 
At  the  end  of  three  days,  which  were  employed  by  White 
in  visiting  the  chiefs,  and  administering  to  the  sick,  it  was 
announced  that  Ellis,  with  his  braves,  was  approaching, 
and  preparations  made  to  receive  the  high  chief  with  due 

Joseph's  band,  seven  hundred  strong,  was  drawn  up 
with  the  agent's  party  in  the  center.  On  came  Ellis'  men, 
about  equal  in  number,  mounted  on  good  horses  decorated 
with  scarlet  belts  and  headdresses,  and  when  about  fifty 
rods  apart,  Ellis'  forces  rushed  forward  with  a  roar  of  mus 
ketry,  the  ear-piercing  sound  of  the  war-whistle,  the  beat 
ing  of  drums,  the  horrible  yelling  of  savages  in  attack, 
the  dashing  to  and  fro  on  their  mettlesome  horses,  while 
the  froth  from  their  nostrils  flew  in  the  faces  of  their 
pale-faced  guests — pale  with  a  shock  they  were  illy  able 
to  conceal. 

Says  Hines:  "The  savage  pomposity  with  which  they 
were  caparisoned,  and  the  frightful  manner  in  which  they 

THE   CAY  USE  WAR.  63 

were  daubed  with  paint,  their  fiery  visages  being  striped 
with  red,  black,  white,  and  yellow,  were  all  calculated  not 
only  to  inspire  terror,  but  a  dread  of  savage  fury  in  the 
mind  of  every  beholder.  At  the  very  height  of  the  ex 
citement,  when  it  appeared  that  the  next  whirl  of  the 
savage  cavalry  would  trample  us  all  beneath  their  feet, 
Ellis  stretched  himself  up  to  his  utmost  height  upon  the 
back  of  his  splendid  charger,  and  waving  his  hand  over 
the  dark  mass,  all  was  quiet." 

All  then  dismounted  to  shake  hands  with  the  agent  and 
his  party,  to  whom  they  furnished  horses  to  ride  to  a  plain 
where  the  ceremony  of  honoring  a  brave  who  had  killed 
twelve  Blackfoot  foes  was  to  be  performed.  The  honored 
warrior  occupied  the  center  of  a  large  circle,  and  recited 
to  an  attentive  audience  the  manner  of  killing  each  with 
the  same  particularity  that  Homer  celebrated  the  deeds  of 
his  heroes,  exhibiting  the  scalps  and  the  arms  taken. 
Then  followed  a  rehearsal  of  a  recent  battle  with  the 
Blackfoot  tribe,  in  which  the  Nez  Perces  were  victorious, 
after  which  a  war  dance  was  performed,  conducted  by  a 
chief  called  Lawyer,  "in  whom,"  says  Hines,  "is  combined 
the  cunning  and  shrewdness  of  the  Indian,  with  the  ability 
and  penetration  of  the  statesman." 

Lawyer,  like  Ellis,  had  received  the  rudiments  of  an 
English  education  at  Red  river.  He  was  possessed  of 
remarkable  shrewdness,  and  had  from  the  first  meeting 
with  the  missionaries  at  the  rendezvous  of  the  fur  compa 
nies  in  the  mountains  in  1836,  remained  their  friend,  and 
used  his  influence  to  quiet  the  Nez  Perces  in  the  vicinity 
of  Lapwai,  where  he  had  his  home,  whenever  such  influ 
ence  could  be  of  advantage  to  them,  and  moreover  to  him 
self.  Though  inferior  in  rank  at  this  time,  his  power  in 
the  tribe  was  nearly  equal  to  that  of  Ellis. 

It  had  been  White's  intention  to  prevent  Ellis  from 
going  down  to  Waiilatpu  if  possible,  but  on  learning  from 
him  that  he  would  act  in  favor  of  a  reception  of  the  laws, 
his  objections  were  withdrawn;  and  a  thousand  horses 


wore  required  to  transport  the  escort  of  men,  women,  and 
children  which  attended  the  agent  on  his  return.  Says 
Hines,  in  speaking  of  the  journey,  "I  was' greatly  sur 
prised,  in  traveling  through  the  Indian  country,  to  find 
that  the  outward  forms  of  Christianity  are  observed  in 
almost  every  lodge.  The  Indians,  generally,  are  nomi 
nally  Christians,  and  about  equally  divided  betwixt  the 
Protestant  and  Catholic  religions." 

As  the  Nez  Perces  approached,  the  Cayuses  formed  in 
ranks  to  receive  them,  the  warriors  of  each  nation  in 
front.  When  within  a  convenient  distance,  there  was  a 
simultaneous  rush  forward  "like  two  clouds  meeting  on  a 
height,"  followed  by  maneuvers  similar  to  those  witnessed 
at  Lapwai,  the  Indians  working  themselves  into  such  a 
state  of  excitement  that  the  white  spectators  began  to  fear 
a  real  engagement  might  result;  and  to  give  them  time  to 
recover  themselves,  Mr.  Spalding,  who  had  accompanied 
the  Nez  Perces,  announced  a  prayer  meeting  at  Dr.  Whit 
man's  house.  To  this  Dr.  White  repaired,  followed  by  the 
principal  men,  and  quiet  was  restored. 

Mr.  Hines  relates  that  Tauitowe  came  forward  in  a  very 
boisterous  manner,  inquiring  "what  all  the  disturbance 
was  for?"  and  implies  that  it  was  because  he  was  a  Cath 
olic  that  he  was  incensed  at  the  display  made  to  receive  a 
Protestant  chief.  It  was  far  more  reasonable  to  believe 
that  Tauitowe's  irritation  was  in  consequence  of  a  suspicion 
—justly  founded  indeed  —  that  Dr.  White  had  brought  all 
these  people  to  force  the  laws  upon  the  Cayuses,  by  argu 
ment  if  not  vi  et  arm/is. 

No  council  was  called  until  the  twenty-third,  when  the 
chiefs  met  Dr.  White  and  his  party  to  hear  what  might  be 
said  to  them.  It  should  be  remembered  that  the  only 
written  reports  we  have  of  the  proceedings  are  those  of  the 
United  States  agent,  made  to  the  government  in  terms 
general,  and  n altering  to  his  own  success;  and  the  story  as 
told  by  Mr.  Hines,  who  expresses  himself  guardedly,  but 
who  entertained  at  the  time  a  feeling  of  scarcely  concealed 


contempt  for  the  —  as  he  regarded  him  —  intriguing  United 
States  sub-Indian  agent  and  would-be-governor  of  the 
colony  of  which  Hines  was  a  member. 

There  is  nothing  to  show  that  White  was  not  as  con 
scientious  in  the  discharge  of  his  duties  as  any  man  would 
have  been  in  his  place.  At  an  early  period  in  the  history 
of  the  Wallamet  colony  he  had  a  quarrel  with  Jason  Lee, 
the  superintendent  of  the  mission,  as  he  himself  said,  on 
account  of  an  honest  difference  of  opinion  as  to  the  best 
way  of  carrying  forward  the  objects  of  the  mission.  The 
quarrel  was  a  bitter  one,  and  he* resigned,  the  home  board, 
on  his  return  to  the  states,  disapproving  of  his  leaving  the 
mission.  But  the  superintendent  had  the  more  or  less 
cordial  support  of  some  of  the  most  prominent  men  in  the 
colony,  of  whom  Mr.  Hines  was  one,  a  cause  sufficient, 
under  the  circumstances,  to  explain  his  attitude  towards 
the  sub-Indian  agent. 

The  council  was  called  to  order  in  a  few  grave  words  by 
Tauitowe,  and  his  speech  being  interpreted,  the  subject 
that  was  uppermost  in  all  minds  began  immediately  to  be 
discussed.  "They  were  told,"  says  Hines,  "that  much  had 
been  said  about  war,  and  we  had  come  to  assure  them  that 
they  had  nothing  to  fear  from  that  quarter,"  and  the  pres 
ident  of  the  United  States  had  sent  an  agent  only  to  regu 
late  their  intercourse  with  his  people.  They  were  assured 
that  the  government  agent  was  not  there  to  catch  them  in 
a  trap  like  beaver,  but  to  do  them  good ;  and  that  if  they 
would  lay  aside  certain  practices  and  prejudices,  cease 
quarreling,  cultivate  the  ground,  and  adopt  good  laws, 
they  might  become  a  great  and  happy  people. 

So  far,  so  good.  But  they  were  also  informed  that  they 
were  few  in  comparison  with  the  white  people;  and  that 
in  order  to  accomplish  anything,  they  must  be  united 
—  advice  that  was  good  for  the  Indians,  but  dangerous 
for  the  colonists.  The  chiefs  were  counseled  to  culti 
vate  friendship  towards  each  other,  and  to  be  considerate 
towards  their  people;  and  the  people  were  told  to  be 


obedient  to  their  chiefs,  and  remember  them  in  their 
morning  and  evening  prayers.  This  too,  was  good  talk, 
but  it  did  not  touch  the  subject  tying  nearest  the  Cayuse 
heart,  which  was:  Would  Dr.  Whitman  return  with  many 
white  people  to  take  away  their  lands. 

An  invitation  was  extended  to  the  chiefs  to  address  the 
meeting.  Ellis  declined,  saying  it  would  not  be  proper  for 
the  Nez  Perces  to  speak  before  the  Cayuses  had  adopted 
the  laws  —  thus  signifying  his  desire  that  they  should  do 
so  —  and  the  Cayuses  replied  that  they  would  see  the  laws 
before  adopting  them. 

Hines  says :  "  A  speech  was  then  delivered  to  the  young 
men  to  impress  them  favorably  with  regard  to  the  laws. 
They  were  told  they  would  soon  take  the  places  of  the  old 
men,  and  they  should  be  willing  to  act  for  the  good  of  the 
people;  that  they  should  not  go  here  and  there  and  spread 
false  reports  about  war;  for  that  this  had  been  the  cause 
of  all  the  difficulty  and  excitement  that  had  prevailed 
among  them  during  the  winter." 

Gray,  in  his  History  of  Oregon,  remarks  that  this  state 
ment  was  untrue;  and  so  it  was,  not  because  it  did  riot 
assign  a  sectarian  cause  for  the  disturbances,  as  he  would 
have  done,  but  because  it  ignored  the  cause  behind  all, 
and  laid  the  blame  upon  one  of  its  natural  consequences. 

When  the  laws  had  been  read  in  the  English  and  Nez 
Perce  languages,  Yellow  Serpent  (Peu-peu-mox-mox) 
arose.  An  Indian  speech  seldom  is  logical,  seldom  has 
any  beginning,  middle  or  ending,  but  often  touches  of 
unconscious  eloquence  or  sharply  pointed  truths.  The 
oratory  on  this  occasion  was  a  fair  example  of  aboriginal 
rhetoric.  Thus  the  Walla  W^alla  chief:  "I  have  a  mes 
sage  to  you.  Where  are  these  laws  from?  I  would  I 
might  say  they  were  from  God.  But  I  think  they  are 
from  the  earth,  because  from  what  I  know  of  white  men 
they  do  not  honor  these  laws." 

It  was  then  explained  to  him  that  the  laws  were  recog 
nized  by  God  and  imposed  on  men  in  all  civilized  coun- 

THE   GAY  USE  WAR.  67 

tries.  With  this  Yellow  Serpent  professed  to  be  satisfied, 
saying  that  it  was  in  accordance  with  such  instructions  as 
he  bad  received  from  Others,  adding  that  he  was  glad  it 
was  so.  ''because  many  of  his  people  had  been  angry  with 
him  when  he  whipped  them  for  crime,  and  had  told  him 
Clod  would  send  him  to  hell  for  it,  and  he  was  glad  to 
know  it  was  pleasing  to  God." 

Tiloukaikt,  on  whose  land  Whitman  lived,  next  spoke, 
saying,  impatiently,  "What  do  you  read4  the  laws  for  be 
fore  we  take  them?  We  do  not  take  the  laws  because 
Tauitowe  says  so.  He  is  a  Catholic,  and  as  a  people  we 
do  not  follow  his  worship." 

To  this  Dr.  White  replied  that  his  religious  views  had 
nothing  to  do  with  the  laws;  that  white  people  had  differ 
ent  modes  of  worship  while  obeying  the  same  laws  —  an 
entirely  new  idea  to  the  Indians,  who  had  only  been  given 
religion  as  law. 

Here  a  chief  called  The  Prince  arose.  He  had  once 
been  a  man  of  influence  among  the  Cayuses,  but  having 
been  concerned  in  an  effort  to  make  Mr.  Pambrun,  in 
charge  of  Fort  Walla  Walla,  pay  higher  prices  for  furs 
and  horses,  by  seizing  that  gentleman,  throwing  him  down, 
and  stamping  on  his  breast,  had  been  deposed  by  the  Hud 
son's  Bay  Company,  and  his  power  had  dwindled  to  noth 
ing.  "I  understand,"  said  The  Prince,  "You  gave  us 
liberty  to'  examine  every  law  —  all  the  words  and  lines  — 
and  as  questions  are  asked  about  it,  we  should  get  a  better 
understanding  of  it.  The  people  of  this  country  have  but 
one  mind  about  it.  I  have  something  to  say,  but  perhaps 
the  people  wall  dispute  me.  As  a  body  we  have  not  had 
an  opportunity  to  consult;  therefore  you  come  to  us  as  in 
the  wind,  and  speak  to  us  as  to  the  air,  as  we  have  no 
point,  and  we  cannot  speak  because  we  have  no  point 

4 The  word  "read"  here  should  undoubtedly  be  "receive."  The  sentence  is 
without  sense  otherwise.  Tiloukaikt  was  a  haughty  Cayuse,  and  would  not  brook  the 
Walla  Wallas  taking  precedence.  He  was  also  a  thorough  Presbyterian,  on  whom 
Dr.  Whitman  had  spent  much  time  and  labor,  and  as  his  speech  betrayed,  resented 
any  interference  by  Tauitowe,  who  was  a  Catholic.  In  this  he  copied  his  teachers  ' 


before  us.  The  business  before  us  is  whole,  like  a  body; 
we  have  not  dissected  it.  And  perhaps  you  will  say  it  is 
out  of  place  for  me  to  speak,  because  I  am  not  a  great 
chief.  Once  I  had  influence,  but  now  I  have  but  little." 

When  he  would  have  sat  down  he  was  told  to  go  on, 
and  said  further:  "  When  the  whites  first  came  among  us 
we  had  no  cattle;  they  have  given  us  none.  What  we 
have  now  got  we  obtained  by  an  exchange  of  property. 
A  long  time  ago  Lewis  and  Clarke  came  to  this  country, 
and  I  want  to  know  what  they  said  about  us  —  did  they 
say  they  found  friends  or  enemies  here?" 

Being  answered  that  they  had  been  well  spoken  of,  The 
Prince  continued :  "  That  is  a  reason  why  the  whites  should 
unite  with  us,  and  all  become  one  people.  Those  who  have 
been  here  before  you  have  left  us  no  memorial  of  their 
kindness  by  giving  us  presents.  We  speak  by  way  of 
favor;  if  you  have  any  benefits  to  bestow,  we  will  then 
speak  more  freely.  One  thing  that  we  can  speak  about 
is  cattle,  and  the  reason  why  we  cannot  speak  out  now  is 
because  we  have  not  the  thing  before  us.  My  people  are 
poor  and  blind,  and  we  must  have  something  tangible. 
Other  chiefs  have  bewildered  me  since  I  came;  yet  I  am 
from  an  honorable  stock.  Promises  which  have  been  made 
to  me  and  my  fathers  have  not  been  fulfilled,  and  I  am 
made  miserable;  but  it  will  not  answer  for  me  to  speak 
out,  for  my  people  do  not  consider  me  as  their  chief.  One 
thing  more;  you  have  reminded  me  of  what  was  prom 
ised  me  some  time  ago,  and  I  am  inclined  to  follow  on  and 
see,  though  I  have  been  giving  my  beaver  to  the  whites 
and  have  received  many  promises,  and  have  always  been 
disappointed ;  I  want  to  know  what  you  are  going  to  do." 

To  this  demand  there  being  no  answer,  Illutin  (Big 
Belly)  arose  and  said,  the  old  men  were  wearied  with  the 
wickedness  of  the  young  men,  and  that  if  he  were  alone 
he  should  say  "Yes"  at  once  to  the  laws;  and  that  the 
reason  the  young  men  were  not  willing  was  because  they 
•had  stolen  property  in  their  possession,  and  the  laws  con- 

THE  CAYV8E  WAR.  69 

demued  them.     He  advised  them,  however,  to  accept  the 
laws,  for  their  own  good. 

Here  The  Prince  interrupted,  desiring  that  the  good  the 
laws  were  to  do  them  might  be  put  in  a  tangible  form.  It 
was  a  long  time,  he  said,  since  the  whites  had  come  into 
their  country  promising  to  do  them  good;  but  all  had 
passed  by  without  leaving  any  benefits  behind.  He  re 
ferred  to  the  competition  between  the  Hudson's  Bay 
Company  and  the  American  traders  in  1832-1834,  and 
said  the  company  had  then  told  them  not  to  go  after  the 
Americans  —  that  they  would  not  give  them  presents  — 
that  they  talked  well,  but  did  not  perform,  while  the 
company  both  promised  and  performed. 

To  this  Dr.  White  replied  that  he  was  not  come  either 
as  a  missionary  or  a  trader;  and  the  council  ended  for  that 
day  without  arriving  at  any  definite  conclusion. 

During  the  evening  White  was  approached  by  Ellis  and 
Lawyer,  who  informed  him  they  expected  pay  for  being 
chiefs,  and  desired  to  know  how  much  salary  would  be 
given  them,  Ellis  saying  he  thought  he  had  already  earned 
enough  to  make  him  rich.  He  received,  however,  no 
answer  to  his  demand  at  that  interview. 

On  the  next  day,  before  resuming  the  business  of  the\ 
council,  it  became  necessary  to  put  the  laws  in  practice,  J 
the   Kanaka   who   had    accompanied   the   expedition   as(f 
servant  having  been  shot,  though  not  fatally,  in  a  quarrel  f 
with  a  Nez  Perce.     The  offender  fled,  but  was  pursued, 
arrested,  and  punished  by  forty  lashes  on  his  bare  back.       \ 

This  matter  attended  to,  the  council  proceeded,  and  after    \ 
a  number  of  speeches  in  effect  like  those  of  the  previous 
day,  a  majority  being  in  favor  of  the  laws,  the  code  was^/ 
adopted  by  the  Cay  uses;   and  after  some  electioneering. 
Tauitowe  was  chosen  high  chief. 

It  is  said,  in  Gray's  History  of  Oregon,  that  Tauitowe  was 
concerned  with  The  Prince  in  the  attack  on  Mr.  Parnbrun, 
and  that  since  that  time  he  had  been  discountenanced  by 
the  Hudson's  Bay  Company,  and  dissensions  sown  among 


his  people.  This  may  have  been  the  reason  that  before 
accepting  the  office  of  high  chief  he  addressed  the  Cay  uses, 
and  inquired  if  they  would  lay  aside  their  differences,  and 
give  him  their  cordial  support,  which  they  promised. 

But,  on  the  following  day,  the  people  being  reassembled, 
he  resigned  his  office,  giving  as  a  reason  the  difference 
between  his  religion  and  that  of  most  of  his  nation  —  an 
evidence  of  his  good  sense,  seeing  how  little  it  tpok  to  stir 
up  strife  among  them.5 

His  brother,  Five  Crows,  was  proposed  in  his  stead,  when 
the  Cayusss  exclaimed,  "our  hearts  go  out  towards  him 
with  a  rush,"  and  his  election  was  nearly  unanimous,  a 
proof  of  popularity  which  affected  him  to  tears. 

A  feast,  at  which  all  sat  down,  red  men  and  white  men, 
Mrs.  WhitH&an  and  the  Indian  women,  closed  the  proceed 
ings,  and  /law  as  well  as  religion  had  become  engrafted 
upon  barbarism.  The  Indians  went  their  way  and  the 
white  men  theirs.  Mrs.  Whitman  returned  with  the 
agent's  party  to  the  lower  country,  being  offered  a  place  in 
one  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company's  boats. 

At  The  Dalles,  Dr.  White  spent  two  months  instructing 
the  several  tribes  which  resorted  to  this  ancient  trading 
center  of  the  Columbia  river  Indians.  "I  begged  money," 
he  says,  "  and  procured  articles  for  clothing  to  the  amount 
of  a  few  hundred  dollars,  not  to  be  given,  but  to  be  sold 
out  to  the  industrious  women  for  mats,  baskets,  and  their 
various  articles  of  manufacture,  in  order  to  get  them 
clothed  comfortably  to  appear  at  church;  and  enlisted  the 
cheerful  cooperation  of  the  mission  ladies  in  instructing 
them  how  to  sew  and  make  up  their  dresses."  He  also 

:>  White  had  to  settle  an  account  with  the  Cayuses,  which  reminds  one  of  Bonne- 
ville's  narration  of  his  experience  with  them.  When  Jason  Lee  first  passed  through 
the  Cayuse  country  in  1834,  he  was  presented  with  some  horses,  which  he  received 
as  a  token  of  friendship,  not  knowing  that  pay  for  presents  was  expected.  As  he 
had  been  in  the  country  for  nine  years  without  making  any  return,  during  which 
time  they  had  often  reproached  Dr.  Whitman  for  the  omission  by  his  white  brother 
to  pay  his  debts,  it  was  thought  best  to  settle  with  the  Cayuses  at  this  time,  which 
was  done  by  agreeing  to  give  tiiem  a  cow  for  each  horse  Lee  had  received.  At  the 
price  cows  were  then  bringing  in  the  colony,  this  was  magnificent  pay. 

THE    CAYU8E  WAR.  71 

visited  the  sick,  of  whom  there  are  always  a  large  number 
in  an  Indian  camp,  and  by  these  means  secured  the  observ 
ance  of  the  laws  among  them.6 

"Concerning  White's  pay  for  these  services,  it  transpires,  through  his  Ten  Years  In 
Oreijon,  that  he  had  considerable  trouble.  He  wrote  to  he  secretary  of  war  —  Hon.  J. 
M.  Porter  — in  November  that  he  had  kept  within  the  limit  of  three  hundred  dollars 
for  interpreters  the  last  year,  and  had  built  himself  an  office  at  the  expense  of  two 
hundred  and  twenty-five  dollars.  His  traveling  expenses,  the  cost  of  feeding  the 
Indians,  and  his  bills  at  Vancouver,  he  asks  shall  be  paid,  otherwise  "pray  call  me 
home  at  once."  He  further  notifies  the  secretary  that  he  "  cannot  sell  drafts  payable 
in  Washington,"  and  asks  for  an  order  to  draft  on  London.  White's  treatment  under 
the  administration  which  succeeded  that  under  which  he  was  appointed,  was  cer 
tainly  very  unfair;  and  it  was  only  after  many  years  that  his  claim  was  recognized 
and  compensation  made.  In  the  meantime,  until  he  left  Oregon  in  1845,  his  seven 
hundred  and  fifty  dollars'  salary  was  pieced  out  by  loans  from  the  company's  officers 
at  Vancouver,  and  made  to  carry  on  the  trying  and  dangerous  intercourse  of  the 
Indians  and  white  people  in  Oregon  for  three  years. 



Two  events  of  great  importance  to  Oregon  took  place  in 
1843,  the  first,  the  organization  of  a  provisional  govern 
ment  in  May;  the  second,  the  arrival  in  the  autumn  of 
nearly  nine  hundred  immigrants. 

Aware  of  the  danger  to  be  apprehended  from  the  In 
dians  on  seeing  a  large  body  of  white  men  with  their 
families  and  stock  coming  into  their  country,  Dr.  White 
dispatched  a  letter  to  meet  the  immigration  at  Fort  Hall, 
urging  upon  them  to  travel  compactly,  in  companies  of 
not  less  than  fifty ;  to  treat  the  Indians  kindly  but  with 
reserve,  and  to  keep  a  vigilant  watch  upon  their  property. 
He  warned  them  that  if  they  came  strolling  along  in  small 
parties  they  would  scarcely  escape  having  difficulty  with 
the  Indians. 

And  that  was  just  what  happened.  The  Indians  nearest 
the  mission  of  Waiilatpu,  owing  to  their  farailiarty  with 
white  people,  and  the  temptation  to  take  reprisal  for  fancied 
wrongs,  were  the  most  impertinent  and  thieving.  They 
were,  however,  quick  to  see  the  benefits  to  themselves  of 
the  passage  through  their  country  of  so  many  people  with 
what  appeared  to  them  wonderful  riches  in  cattle,  wagons, 
household  goods,  and  clothing,  affording  them  opportuni 
ties  of  trade  or  theft  as  best  suited  their  disposition  or 
convenience.  A  great  deal  of  thieving  took  place,  and  as 

*  (72) 


the  immigrants  were  forced  to  pay  some  article  of  clothing 
for  having  a  stolen  animal  returned  —  a  transaction  re 
peated  every  twenty-four  hours  —  the  country  along  the 
Columbia  river  presented  a  fantastic  show  for  months 
afterwards,  of  Indians  dressed  in  the  most  incongruous 
and  absurd  combinations  of  savage  and  civilized  costumes 
—  a  spectacle  witnessed  more  and  more,  with  the  passage 
of  subsequent  immigrant  parties,  for  years. 

As  none  of  the  new  comers  remained  in  the  Cay  use 
country,  the  jealous  fears  of  the  mission  Indians  appeared 
to  be  for  the  time  allayed.  They  had  been  able  in  a  few 
instances  to  exchange  a  fat  bullock  for  a  lean  heifer,  with 
a  view  to  stock-raising,  which  gratified  their  ambition  to 
become  property  holders,  and  furnished  a  reasonable 
motive  in  addition  to  the  other,  for  the  maintenance  of 
peace  in  the  region  inhabited  by  the  Indians  under  the 
charge  of  the  Presbyterians. 

At  The  Dalles  the  Methodists  withdrew  their  missiona 
ries  in  the  spring  of  1844,  leaving  only  H.  B.  Brewer  in 
charge  of  the  houses  and  other  property  at  that  place. 
Left  to  their  own  devices,  and  the  temptations  offered, 
these  incorrigible  rogues  were  not  likely  to  improve  in 
their  manners,  and  did  not.  On  the  contrary,  one  of  their 
chiefs,  Cockstock  by  name,  in  November  of  this  year  came 
to  the  house  of  Dr.  White  in  the  Wallamet  valley,  intend 
ing  to  take  his  life;  but  finding  him  absent,  wreaked  his 
vengeance  on  the  agent's  house,  breaking  every  window 
in  it;  the  occasion  for  this  display  of  wrath  being  the 
punishment  of  one  of  his  relative  for  seizing  Mr.  Perkins 
in  his  own  house,  and  attempting  to  tie,  with  the  inten 
tion  of  flogging  him,  for  some  act  displeasing  to  them. 

Shortly  after  this  visit  of  The  Dalles  chief,  who,  however, 
was  not  identified,  a  party  of  Klamaths  and  Molallas, 
painted  and  armed,  rode  down  the  valley  seemingly  bent 
on  mischief,  their  proper  countries  lying  from  fifty  to  three 
hundred  miles  away.  Dr.  White,  who  was  among  the 
first  to  see  them,  determined  to  depend  upon  finesse  rather 


than  force  to  frustrate  any  designs  they  might  have  of  a 
hostile  nature ;  and  seeing  them  go  to  the  lodge  of  a  Cala- 
pooya  chief,  named  Caleb  by  the  Americans,  immediately 
sent  an  invitation  to  this  chief  to  call  on  him  in  the  morn 
ing  and  bring  his  friends,  as  he  desired  to  have  a  talk  with 
them.  Accordingly,  all  came  next  day,  and  were  received 
in  the  most  friendly  manner,  being  invited  by  White  to 
walk  over  his  plantation  and  see  his  crops  and  herds. 
Incidentally  he  asked  Caleb  if  he  was  prepared  to  give  his 
friends  a  feast,  and  the  chief  acknowledging  his  poverty, 
White  at  once  gave  him  permission  to  shoot  down  a  fat  ox, 
to  which  he  added  pease  and  flour,  with  salt,  and  soon  in 
the  delights  of  feasting  the  stern  features  of  the  visitors 
relaxed.  Their  hostile  sentiment  faded  out,  and  of  their 
own  option  they  made  overtures  of  friendship  the  follow 
ing  morning.  To  this  proposition  White  answered  that  he 
would  call  on  them  next  day  with  Mr.  Jesse  Applegate,  an 
immigrant  of  the  previous  year,  who  had  already  become 
a  leader  in  colonial  affairs,  and  in  the  meantime  they 
should  feast  and  enjoy  themselves.  All  this  courtesy  put 
them  in  a  fine  humor,  so  that  he  had  no  difficulty  in 
obtaining  their  consent  to  meet  him  in  the  spring  with 
their  people,  and  use  their  influence  in  persuading  their 
tribes  to  enter  into  a  compact  with  the  white  population. 
The  interview  ended  cheerfully,  the  Indians  riding  away 
laughing  and  singing. 

But  the  end  was  not  yet.  During  the  interview  at 
Caleb's  lodge,  Cockstock,  the  chief  before  mentioned,  who 
was  still  personally  unknown  to  White,  entered  the  lodge, 
behaving  ungraciously  to  all  present,  but  joining  the 
party  when  it  set  out  for  home.  During  the  journey  he 
managed  to  revive  an  old  feud  between  the  Klamaths  and 
Molallas,  and  at  the  crossing  of  a  river  one  faction  set 
upon  the  other,  killing  every  one  opposed  to  them.  For 
this  wrong  the  agent  could  offer  no  redress. 

In  the  latter  part  of  February,  1844,  this  same  Cock- 
stock,  who  had  been  behaving  in  an  insolent  and  disor- 


derly  manner,  together  with  a  few  followers,  made  renewed 
threats  against  the  life  of  White,  who  was  unable  to  arrest 
him,  and  at  last  offered  a  reward  of  one  hundred  dollars 
for  the  delivery  into  his  hands  of  the  culprit,  to  be  tried 
by  the  Cayuses  or  Nez  Perces  according  to  the  laws  recog 
nized  by  them. 

A  few  days  afterwards  Cockstock  with  his  half  dozen 
adherents  entered  Oregon  City  at  midday,  all  horribly 
painted,  riding  from  house  to  house,  showing  their  arms, 
and  terrifying  the  inmates.  As  his  following  was  so  small 
the  men  on  whom  devolved  the  protection  of  the  families 
regarded  the  demonstration  as  drunken  bluster,  and  with 
what  patience  they  could,  bore  the  infliction  for  several 
hours,  when  Cockstock,  finding  he  could  not  provoke  a 
quarrel  with  the  white  inhabitants  in  that  manner,  retired 
to  an  Indian  village  on  the  west  side  of  the  river  with  the 
purpose  of  inciting  its  occupants  to  attack  and  burn  the 
settlement.  Failing  in  this,  he  obtained  an  interpreter 
and  returned  to  the  east  side,  declaring  that  he  would  call 
the  Americans  to  account  for  pursuing  him  with  an  intent 
to  arrest  and  punish  him. 

By  this  time  it  became  noised  about  that  this  was  the 
Indian  wanted  by  Dr.  White;  and  the  white  men  losing 
patience,  and  some  desiring  the  reward  offered,  made  a 
simultaneous  rush  towards  the  boat  landing  to  intercept 
Cockstock — "the  wealthiest  men  in  town,"  says  Dr.  White 
in  his  report,  "  promising  to  stand  by  them  to  the  amount 
of  one  thousand  dollars  each." 

In  the  confusion  of  the  meeting  at  the  landing,  arms 
were  discharged  on  both  sides  at  the  same  moment,  and 
George  W.  Le  Breton,  a  young  man  who  had  served  as 
clerk  of  the  first  legislative  committee  of  Oregon,  and 
recorder  of  the  public  meeting  held  Jul}T  5,  1843,  estab 
lishing  a  provisional  government,  was  wounded  by  Cock- 
stock  in  an  effort  to  seize  him.  Seeing  that  Le  Breton  was 
unarmed,  a  mulatto,  who  had  an  account  of  his  own  to 
sot.lle  with  the  chief,  ran  to  his  assistance,  striking  the 


Indian  on  the  head  with  the  barrel  of  his  rifle,  soon 
dispatching  him. 

The  remaining  Indians,  after  shooting  their  guns  and 
arrows  at  random  among  the  people,  took  refuge  on  the 
bluff  above  the  town,  where  they  continued  to  fire  down 
upon  the  citizens,  wounding  two  men  who  were  quietly  at 
work —  a  Mr.  Rogers  and  a  Mr.  Wilson.  Arms  being  now 
generally  resorted  to,  the  Indians  were  soon  dislodged  with 
a  loss  of  one  wounded  and  a  horse  killed.  Of  the  three 
Americans  wounded,  Le  Breton  and  Rogers  died  from 
the  effect  of  poison  introduced  into  the  system  by  arrow 

Such  was  the  first  result  of  Dr.  White's  effort  to  arrest 
The  Dalles  chief.  In  a  short  time  he  was  visited  by 
seventy  painted  and  armed  Indians  from  that  place,  who 
had  come  to  extort  payment  for  the  loss  of  their  common 
relative.  The  explanation  of  the  affair  which  White  gave 
them,  showed,  that  whereas  they  had  lost  one  man,  the 
Americans  had  lost  two,  and  that  the  balance  of  indem 
nity  was  on  their  side;  but  as  a  matter  of  kindness  and 
compassion  he  would  give  the  widow  of  the  chief  two 
blankets,  a  dress,  and  a  handkerchief;  and  in  this  equi 
table  manner,  the  matter  was  disposed  of,  as  also  a  prece 
dent  established. 

With  this  exception,  no  white  blood  was  shed  through 
Indian  hostilities  in  the  Wallamet  valley,  although  the 
agent  was  frequently  employed  in  settling  with  them  for 
/the  killing  of  an  ox  belonging  to  a  white  man.  When 
White,  with  effected  sternness,  reproved  the  chief  of  some 
starving  band  for  such  a  theft,  he  was  met  with  the  com 
plaint  of  game  made  scarce  by  white  hunters,  and  the 
necessity  to  live.  He  was  compelled  to  enforce  white 
men's  laws  against  a  helpless  people  to  whose  condition 
they  were  never  meant  to  apply,  because  to  do  otherwise 
would  leave  the  Indians  at  the  mercy  of  individual  jus 
tice.  For  one  old  ox  killed  and  eaten,  the  band  living  on 
Tualatin  plains  was  compelled  to  pay  eight  JLOTSCS  and  one 


rifle.  In  another  case  where  a  cow  had  been  slaughtered 
by  "a  hungry  and  mischievous  lodge,"  they  were  pur 
sued,  and  resisting  arrest,  one  Indian  was  killed  and  an 
other  wounded.  The  pursuers  lost  one  horse  killed  and 
one  wounded.  Yet  no  one  was  much  disturbed  by  such 
occurrences;  and  indeed,  the  early  Oregon  settlers  were^ 
usually  careful  not  to  give  the  natives  cause  of  offense. 

It  was  about  this  time,  however,  that  the  spirits  militant 
among  the  later  colonists  determined  to  frighten  the 
Hudson's  Bay  Company  into  a  humble  attitude  towards 
the  Americans  by  the  organization  of  a  company,  armed 
and  trained  for  the  protection  of  the  colony  against  aggres 
sion  by  the  English,  and  invasion  by  the  native  population. 
This  company,  the  first  military  organization  in  Oregon, 
or  the  whole  northwest,  was  authorized  by  the  provisional 
government,  and  was  known  as  the  "  Oregon  Rangers." 
It  was  officered  by  Thomas  D.  Kaiser,  captain ;  J.  L.  Mor 
rison,  first  lieutenant;  Fendal  C.  Cason,  ensign;  and  held 
its  first  meeting  for  drill  at  the  Oregon  institute  March  11, 
1844.  The  course  of  the  executive  committee  in  calling 
out  this  company  to  "  avenge  the  national  insult,  and  seek 
redress  for  this  astounding  loss" — namely,  the  before 
mentioned  slaughter  of  an  ox  —  was  ridiculed  by  White  in 
his  report  to  the  secretary  of  war.  History  has  not  re 
corded  any  deeds  of  prowess  performed  by  the  rangers, 
whose  organization  was  aimed  as  much  at  the  Hudson's 
Bay  Company  as  at  the  Indians.1 

For  one  year  after  Dr.  Whitman's  return  to  his  mission,  / 
quiet  had  reigned  in  the  upper  country.  The  Indians/ 
there,  as  has  been  said,  were  filled  with  an  ambition  to  / 
acquire  wealth  by  stock-raising,  and  not  being  able  to  pur-  f 
chase  many  animals  from  the  immigration,  had  formed  a  ] 

1  As  a  relic  of  Oregon's  first  attempt  at  government,  when  it  had  a  triple  execu 
tive,  the  following  document  is  interesting : — 

The  people  of  the  temtory  of  Oregon  —  To  nil  to  whom  these  presents  s/iall  come  : 

Know  ye,  that  pursuant  to  the  constitution  and  laws  of  our  said  territory,  we  have 
appointed  and  constituted,  and  by  these  presents  do  appoint  and  constitute  J.  L- 
Morrison  first  lieutenant  of  the  first  volunteer  company  of  rangers  of  said  territory, 


company  of  about  forty  Cayuses,  Walla  Wallas,  and  a  few 
Spokanes,  to  go  to  California  and  exchange  peltries  and 
horses  for  Spanish  cattle.  This  was  a  courageous  under 
taking,  as  their  route  lay  through  the  country  of  the 
warlike  Klamaths,  Rogue  Rivers,  and  Shastas.  But  the 
expedition,  led  by  Peu-peu-mox-mox,  was  well  mounted 
and  armed,  the  chiefs  attired  in  English  costume,  and 
their  followers  in  dressed  skins,  presenting  a  fine  and  formi 
dable  appearance  to  the  wilder  denizens  of  the  southern 
interior ;  and  they  arrived  safely  at  their  destination  with 
only  some  slight  skirmishing  by  the  way. 

The  reception  met  with  by  the  expedition  was  cordial, 
the  Spaniards  being  quite  willing  to  dispose  of  their  numer 
ous  herds  at  the  good  prices  exacted  of  their  customers. 
As  for  the  native  Oregonians,  they  found  California  much 
to  their  liking,  and  roamed  about  at  pleasure  until  mis 
fortune  overtook  them  in  the  following  manner:  Being 
on  an  excursion  to  procure  elk  and  deer  skins,  they  fell  in 
with  a  company  of  native  California  bandits  whom  they 
fought,  and  from  whom  they  captured  twenty-two  horses 
which  had  been  stolen  from  their  Spanish  or  American 

On  returning  with  their  booty  to  the  settlements,  some 
of  the  horses  were  claimed  by  the  original  owners,  under 
the  Spanish  law  that  required  animals  sold  to  bear  a  trans 
fer  mark.  As  these  bore  only  the  brand  of  their  former 
owners,  the  Spaniards  claimed  them.  The  Oregonians,  on 
the  contrary,  contended  that  while  if  any  property  were 

with  rank  from  April  3,  1844,  to  hold  the  said  office  in  the  manner  specified  in  and  by 
our  said  constitution  and  laws- 

In  testimony  whereof  we  have  caused  our  seal  for  military  commissions  to  be 
hereunto  affixed. 

Witness,  D.  HILL,  ESQ., 

J.  GALE,  ESQ., 
A.  BEERS,  ESQ., 

Executive  committee  of  said  territory,  and  commanders-in-chief  of 
all  the  militia  and  volunteer  companies  of  said  territory. 

[  L.  s.]  Dated  at  the  Willamette  Falls  the  third  day  of  April,  in  the  year  of 

our  Lord,  one  thousand  eight  hundred  and  forty-four.  • 
Attest :  O.  JOHNSON,  Sect. 


taken  by  a  member  of  any  allied  tribe  they  were  bound 
to  give  it  up,  they  considered  any  property  captured  from 
a  common  enemy  as  belonging  to  the  captors;  and  hence 
that  the  horses  taken  by  them  from  robbers,  at  the  hazard 
of  their  lives,  belonged  thenceforth  to  them. 

To  this  reasoning  the  Spaniards  were  deaf,  but  offered 
to  compromise  by  allowing  ten  cows  for  the  horses,  and 
finally  fifteen,  to  all  of  which  overtures  Peu-peu-mox-mox 
answered  not,  except  by  a  sullen  silence,  and  the  negotia 
tions  were  broken  off.  Before  any  settlement  was  arrived 
at,  an  American  recognizing  a  mule  belonging  to  him 
among  the  captured  animals,  claimed  it,  with  the  declara 
tion  that  he  would  have  it. 

Among  the  Oregonians  was  a  young  chief  named  Elijah 
lledding,  a  son  of  the  Walla  Walla  chief,  who  had  been 
1  aught  at  the  mission  school  in  the  Wallamet,  and  was  a 
convert  to  Christianity.  When  he  heard  the  American 
declare  his  intention  to  take  his  mule,  he  quickly  stepped 
into  his  lodge,  loaded  his  rifle,  and  coming  out,  said  sig 
nificantly:  "Now  go  and  take  your  mule." 

The  American  inquired,  in  alarm,  if  he  was  going  to  be 
shot.  "No,"  said  Elijah,  "I  am  going  to  shoot  yonder- 
eagle,"  pointing  to  a  neighboring  pine  tree;  and  the  Amer 
ican  being  unarmed,  precipitately  left  the  place.  On  the 
iollowing  Sunday  a  part  of  the  cattle  company  went  to 
Suiter's  fort,  where  religious  services  were  to  be  held,  and 
among  them  Tauitowe  and  Elijah.  During  the  afternoon 
the  two  chiefs  were  enticed  into  an  apartment,  where  they 
were  confronted  by  several  Americans,  who  had  come  to 
California  via  Oregon,  and  had  suffered  annoyances  from 
the  Indians  along  the  Columbia  river,  who  now  applied 
such  approbrious  epithets  as  "thieves"  and  "dogs"  to  the 
Cayuses  and  Walla  Wallas  indiscriminately,  and  a  quarrel 
ensued,  in  the  midst  of  which  the  American  who  had  been 
threatened  by  Elijah,  drawing  a  pistol,  said:  "The  other 
day  you  were  going  to  kill  me  —  now  I  am  going  to  kill 


On  hearing  this  Elijah,  as  it  was  told  to  White  by  the 
Indians,  begged  to  be  allowed  to  "  pray  a  little  first,"  and 
while  kneeling,  was  shot  dead.  Other  authorities  have 
said  that  Elijah  was  a  turbulent  fellow,  and  deserving  of 
'the  fate  he  met.  But  the  fact  remains  that  it  was  the 
obstinacy  of  Peu-peu-mox-mox  in  refusing  to  be  governed 
by  the  laws  of  a  strange  country  in  which  he  found  him 
self,  that  brought  about  the  misfortune  which  overtook 
the  Indian  cattle  company.  They  were  driven  out  of 
California  by  Spanish  authorities,  who  pursued  them  with 
cannon,  arriving  home  in  the  spring  of  1845,  having  left 
the  cattle,  for  which  they  had  paid,  in  California,  and 
having  endured  many  hardships  by  the  way. 

The  effect  of  the  disastrous  failure  of  the  cattle  company 
and  the  death  of  Elijah  was  to  deepen  in  the  minds  of  the 
mission  Indians  their  mistrust  of  the  white  race,  and  par 
ticularly  of  Americans;  for,  however  much  they  may  have 
been  at  fault,  they  were  in  no  mood  to  make  allowances 
for  the  natural  consequences  of  that  fault,  but  were  instead 
in  that  dangerous  temper  which  caused  Dr.  Whitman  to 
send  a  hasty  arid  excited  communication  to  the  sub-Indian 
agent,  expressing  his  fears  that  Elijah's  death  would  be 
avenged  upon  his  mission.  And  following  immediately 
upon  this  letter,  White  received  a  visit  from  Ellis,  who 
had  been  delegated  to  visit  both  himself  and  Dr.  Mc- 
Loughlin,  to  get  from  them  an  opinion  as  to  what  should 
be  done  in  their  case. 

"I  apprehended,"  says  White,  "there  might  be  much 
difficulty  in  adjusting  it,  particularly  as  they  lay  much 
stress  upon  the  restless,  disaffected  scamps  late  from  Will 
amette  to  California,  loading  them  with  the  vile  epithets 
of  '  dogs,'  t  thieves/  etc.,  from  which  they  believed,  or 
affected  to,  that  the  slanderous  reports  of  our  citizens 
caused  all  their  loss  and  disasters,  and  therefore  held  us 

According  to  Ellis,  the  Walla  Wallas,  Cayuses,  Nez 
Perces,  Spokanes,  Pend  d'Oreilles,  and  Snakes  were  on 

THE    (JAYUSE  WAR.  81 

terms  of  amity  and  alliance;  and  a  portion  of  them  were 
for  raising  two  thousand  warriors  and  marching  at  once 
to  California  to  take  reprisal  by  capture  and  plunder,  en 
riching  themselves  by  the  spoils  of  the  enemy.  Another 
part  were  more  cautious,  wishing  first  to  take  advice,  and 
to  learn  whether  the  white  people  in  Oregon  would  remain 
neutral.  A  third  party  were  for  holding  the  Oregon 
colony  responsible,  because  Elijah  had  been  killed  by  an 

There  was  business,  indeed,  for  an  Indian  agent  with  no 
government  at  his  back,  and  no  money  to  carry  on  either 
war  or  diplomacy.  But  Dr.  White  was  equal  to  it.  He 
arranged  a  cordial  reception  for  the  chief  among  the  col 
onists;  planned  to  have  Dr.  McLoughlin  divert  his  mind 
by  referring  to  the  tragic  death  of  his  own  son  by  treachery, 
which  enabled  him  to  sympathize  with  the  father  and  rela 
tives  of  Elijah ;  and,  on  his  own  part,  took  him  to  visit  the 
schools  and  his  own  library,  and  in  every  way  treated  the 
chief  as  if  he  were  the  first  gentleman  in  the  land.  Still 
further  to  establish  social  equality,  he  put  on  his  farmer's 
garb  and  began  working  on  his  plantation,  in  which  labor 
Ellis  soon  joined  him,  and  the  two  discussed  the  benefits 
already  enjoyed  by  the  ^native  population  as  the  result  of 
intelligent  labor. 

Nothing,  however,  is  so  convincing  to  an  Indian  as  a 
present,  and  here,  it  would  seem,  Dr.  White  must  have 
failed,  but  not  so.  In  the  autumn  of  1844,  thinking  to 
prevent  trouble  with  the  immigration  by  enabling  the  chiefs 
in  the  upper  country  to  obtain  cattle  without  violating  the 
laws,  lie  had  given  them  some  ten-dollar  treasury  drafts  to 
be  exchanged  with  the  immigrants  for  young  stock,  which 
drafts  the  immigrants  refused  to  accept,  not  knowing  where 
they  should  get  them  cashed.  To  heal  the  wound  caused 
by  this  disappointment,  White  now  sent  word  by  Ellis  to 
these  chiefs  to  come  down  in  the  autumn  with  Dr.  Whitman 
and  Mr.  Spalding,  to  hold  a  council  over  the  California 
affair,  and  to  bring  with  them  their  ten-dollar  drafts  to 


exchange  with  him  for  a  cow  and  a  calf  each,  out  of  his 
own  herds.  He  also  promised  them  that  if  they  would 
postpone  their  visit  to  California  until  the  spring  of  1847, 
and  each  chief  assist  him  to  the  amount  of  two  beaver 
skin?,  he  would  establish  a  manual 'labor  and  literary 
school  for  their  children,  besides  using  every  means  in  his 
power  to  have  the  trouble  with  the  Californians  adjusted, 
and  would  give  them  from  his  private  funds  five  hundred 
dollars  with  which  to  purchase  young  cows  in  California. 
It  must,  indeed,  have  been  a  serious  breach  to  heal, 
when  the  Indian  agent  felt  forced  to  pledge  his  own  means 
to  such  an  amount.  That  he  succeeded  in  averting  for  the 
time  an  impending  disaster  should  be  placed  to  his  credit, 
even  though  he  was  prevented  redeeming  all  his  pledges 
through  the  loss  of  his  office  by  a  change  in  the  form  of 
the  provisional  government  of  Oregon,  and  his  ambition 
to  figure  as  the  delegate  of  this  government  to  the  United 
States.2  He  did,  however,  write  to  Sutter,  and  the  agent 
of  the  United  States  government  in  California,  Thomas  0. 
Larkin ;  a  good  deal  of  correspondence  on  the  subject  being 
still  extant,  from  which  it  appears  that  Sutter  had  given 
the  Walla  Wallas  —  as  they  were  all  called  in  California  — 
permission  to  hunt  for  wild  horses  to  be  exchanged  for 
cattle.  In  the  quarrel  which  arose  between  Elijah  and 
Grove  Cook,  an  American,  over  the  ownership  of  a  mule, 
the  young  chief  was  shot  in  Sutter's  office  during  his  tem 
porary  absence.  The  white  witnesses  all  agreed  that 

-It  is  a  somewhat  curious  circumstance  that  Dr.  Elijah  White,  who  certainly 
achieved,  with  rare  exceptions,  the  good  attempted  for  the  Oregon  colony  in  his 
official  capacity,  left  behind  him  in  this  country,  instead  of  a  good  reputation,  a  very 
unfriendly  feeling.  That  most  of  it  was  due  to  jealousy  must  be  admitted,  there 
beiug  no  other  solution.  In  the  mission  colony  the  friends  of  Jason  Lee  were  against 
him  ;  and  among  these,  as  well  as  the  immigrant  settlers  and  members  of  the  legis 
lature,  he  was  suspected  of  having  designs  on  the  delegateship,  whereas  both  factions 
had  other  preferences.  But  that  he  was  justified  in  feeling  himself  a  proper  person 
to  become  a  delegate,  or  to  accept  an  appointment,  was  shown  by  the  action  of  the 
provisional  government  in  asking  him  to  become  the  bearer  of  a  memorial  to  con 
gress.  The  opportunity  offered  to  attend  to  his  own  personal  affairs  was  of  course 
acceptable  ;  but  owing  to  certain  influences  the  legislature  later  resolved  :  "That  it 
was  not  the  intention  of  this  house  in  passing  resolutions  in  favor  of  Dr.  E.  White  to 
recommend  him  to  the  government  of  the  United  States  as  a  suitable  person  to  fill 
any  office  in  this  territory":  See  Oregon  Archives,  *(),  too,  116.  Before  leaving  for 


Elijah  was  the  aggressor;  but  do  not  white  witnesses 
in  similar  circumstances  always  agree  to  the  guilt  of  the 

It  may  as  well  be  mentioned  here  that  in  the  autumn  of 
1846,  Peu-peu-mox-mox  went  again  to  California  with  a 
company  of  forty  men,  to  demand  justice  for  the  killing 
of  his  son,  their  arrival  on  the  frontier  causing  great  con 
cern  and  excitement.  Commodore  Stockton  coming  up 
from  Mon-terey  to  San  Francisco,  and  a  military  company 
being  sent  to  protect  exposed  points. 

Peu-peu-mox-mox,  whatever  his  intentions  may  have 
been  in  the  outset,  seeing  that  the  country  was  now  in  the 
possession  of  Americans,  and  that  both  Americans  and 
Spaniards  were  armed,  declared  that  he  only  came  to 
trade,  and  afterwards  offered  his  services  to  Major  Fremont 
to  fight  the  Californians.  The  adventurers  acquitted  them 
selves  well,  and  returned  to  Oregon  with  increased  respect 
for  the  Americans  as  warriors,  all  their  previous  experience 
of  them  having  been  as  peace  men  —  "women,"  they  called 
the  Oregon  immigrants  whom  they  insulted  and  robbed, 
because  they  offered  no  resistance  to  their  annoyances  on 
the  road.  Indeed,  they  had  been  warned  that  they  must 
not  judge  the  fighting  qualities  of  the  people  of  the  United 
States  by  the  prudent  forbearance  of  men  encumbered  by 
families  and  herds;  and  no  doubt  this  lesson  was  enforced 
by  what  they  saw  in  California. 

The  provisional  legislature  created  the  office  of  superin- 

the  states  in  August,  1845,  Dr.  White  spent  several  weeks  in  searching  for  a  pass 
through  the  Cascade  mountains,  more  favorable  than  the  route  by  Mount  Hood, 
which  had  been  partially  opened  the  previous  year.  In  this  unsuccessful  expedi 
tion,  fitted  out  at  his  own  expense,  he  was  accompanied  by  Batteus  Du  Guerre,  Joseph 
Charles  Saxton,  Orus  Brown,  Moses  Harris,  John  Edmunds,  and  two  others  ;  and  they 
examined  the  country  from  the  Santiam  to  the  head  of  the  Wallamet  valley  without 
finding  what  they  sought ;  named  Spencer's  butte,  after  the  then  late  secretary  of 
war,  John  C.  Spencer  ;  and  explored  the  Siuslaw  river  to  its  mouth.  White  was  no 
coward.  He  returned  to  the  states  with  only  Harris,  Du  Guerre,  Saxton,  Brown, 
Chapman,  and  two  or  three  others,  although  traveling  this  route  was  becoming  more 
dangerous  every  year.  Harris  deserted  at  Des  Chutes  river,  remaining  in  Oregon. 
About  the  last  of  October  the  party  was  captured  by  the  Pawnees  ana  robbed,  White 
being  beaten  into  unconsciousness,  but  rescued  through  the  favor  of  a  chief.  He 
finally  reached  Washington,  delivering  his  messages,  settling  his  accounts,  and  retir 
ing  to  his  home  near  Ithaca,  removing  some  years  afterwards  to  California. 


endent  of  Indian  affairs  in  August,  1845,  and  bestowed  it 
on  the  governor,  George  Abernethy.  The  condition  of 
Oregon  about  this  time  was,  in  the  minds  of  its  white 

nhabitants,  full  of  peril,  not  only  from  possible  Indian 
wars,  but  on  account  of  the  resolute  attitude  taken  by 
American  statesmen  towards  Great  Britain  on  the  question 
)f  international  boundary.  Notwithstanding  the  fact  that 

he  officers  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  had  joined  with 
the  Americans  in  a  political  compact,  and  taken  an  oath 
to  support  the  provisional  government  so  far  as  it  did  not 
interfere  with  their  allegiance  to  their  respective  govern 
ments,  there  was  the  prospect,  as  it  appeared  to  the  colo 
nists,  of  a  war  between  the  two  nations,  which  should 
force  a  conflict  between  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  and 
the  colonists.  In  such  an  emergency  it  was  remembered, 
with  foreboding,  that  the  Indian  population  was  sure  to 
take  advantage  of  the  opportunity  thus  offered  of  avenging 
all  their  real  and  imagined  wrongs  upon  the  Americans. 
The  immigration  of  1845  numbered  about  three  thou 
sand  persons,  and  almost  doubled  the  white  population  of 
Oregon;  that  of  1844  having  been  about  seven  hundred 
and  fifty.  But  if  their  numbers  were  small  their  patriotism 
was  large,  and  they  made  no  secret  of  the  fact  that  some 
of  them  had  come  all  the  way  from  Missouri  to  burn  Fort 
Vancouver.  So  many  threats  of  a  similar  nature  had 
found  utterance  ever  since  the  first  large  party  of  1843, 
that  the  officers  of  the  British  company  had  thought  it 
only  prudent  to  strengthen  their  defenses,  and  keep  a  sloop 
of  war  lying  in  the  Columbia.  What  the  company  simply 
did  for  defense,  the  settlers  construed  into  an  offense,  and 
both  parties  were  on  the  alert  for  the  first  overt  act. 

It  has  already  been  mentioned  that  the  passage  down 
the  Columbia  was  one  of  excessive  hardship  and  danger, 
each  immigration  having  endured  incredible  suffering, 
and  also  loss,  in  coming  from  The  Dalles  to  the  Wallamet 
valley;  families  and  wagons  being  shipped  on  rafts  to  the 
cascades,  where  a  portage  had  to  be  made  of  several  miles, 

THE   CAY  USE  WAR.  85 

and  whence  another  voyage  had  to  be  undertaken  in  such 
poor  craft  as  could  be  constructed  or  hired,  taking  weeks 
to  complete  this  portion  of  the  long  journey  from  the 
states,  in  the  late  and  rainy  months  of  the  year ;  the  oxen 
and  herds  being  driven  down  to  Vancouver  on  the  north 
side  of  the  river,  or  being  left  in  the  upper  country  to  be 
herded  by  the  Indians.  The  rear  of  the  immigration  of 
1844  remained  at  Whitman's  mission  over  winter,  and 
several  families  at  The  Dalles.  The  larger  body  of  1845 
divided,  some  coming  down  the  river,  and  others  crossing 
the  Cascade  mountains  by  two  routes,  but  each  enduring 
the  extreme  of  misery.  John  Minto,  then  a  young  man, 
says  of  1844:  "I  found  men  in  the  prime  of  life  lying 
among  the  rocks  (at  the  Cascades),  seeming  ready  to  die. 
I  found  there  mothers  with  their  families,  whose  hus 
bands  were  snowbound  in  the  Cascade  mountains,  with 
out  provisions,  and  obliged  to  kill  and  eat  their  game 
dogs.  *  *  There  was  scarcely  a  dry  day,  and  the 

snow  line  was  nearly  down  to  the  river."  These  scenes 
were  repeated  in  1845  with  a  greater  number  of  sufferers, 
one  wing  of  the  long  column  taking  a  cut-off  by  follow 
ing  which  they  became  lost,  and  had  all  but  perished  in 
a  desert  country.  "Despair  settled  upon  the  people;  old 
men  and  children  wept  together,  and  the  strongest  could 
not  speak  hopefully."  "Only  the  women,"  says  one  nar 
rator,  "  continued  to  show  firmness  and  courage." 

The  perils  and  pains  of  the  Plymouth  Rock  pilgrims 
were  not  greater  than  those  of  the  pioneers  of  Oregon,  and 
there  are  few  incidents  in  history  more  profoundly  sad 
than  the  narratives  of  hardships  undergone  in  the  settle 
ment  of  this  country.  The  names  of  the  men  who  pioneered 
the  wagon  rpad  around  the  base  of  Mount  Hood  are  worthy 
of  all  remembrance.  They  were  Joel  Palmer,  Henry  M. 
Knighton,  W.  H.  Rector,  and  Samuel  K.  Barlow  in  partic 
ular;  but  there  were  many  others,  even  women,  who 
crossed  the  mountains  late  in  the  year  of  1845  on  pack 
horses,  barely  escaping  starvation  through  the  exertions 


of  Barlow  and  Rector  in  gelling  through  to  Oregon  City, 
and  forwarding  to  them  a  pack-train  with  provisions. 
The  wagons,  which  it  was  impossible  to  move  beyond 
Rock  creek,  were  abandoned,  the  goods  cached,  except 
such  necessaries  as  could  be  packed  on  half  starved  oxen, 
the  men  walking  in  the  snow,  and  all  often  soaked  with 
rain.  Children  with  feet  almost  bare  endured  this  terrible 
journey,  the  like  of  which  can  never  again  occur  on  this 

Some  of  the  more  thoughtful  men  of  the  colony,  taking 
into  consideration  the  peculiar  inaccessibility  of  western 
Oregon  from  the  east,  and  the  possibility  of  war  with 
England,  asked  themselves  how  United  States  troops  were 
to  come  to  their  assistance  in  such  a  case.  The  natural 
obstacles  of  the  Columbia- river  pass  were  so  great  as  to  be 
almost  positively  exclusive  in  the  absence  of  the  usual 
means  of  transportation,  and  the  stationing  of  but  a  small 
force,  or  a  single  battery,  at  the  Cascades,  would  effectually 
exclude  an  army. 

The  colonists  were  still  expecting  the  passage  of  Linn's 
bill,  and  with  it  the  long-promised  military  protection; 
but  there  was  the  possibility  that  at  the  very  moment  of 
greatest  need  they  might  be  left  at  the  mercy  of  an  invad 
ing  foe,  and  its  savage  allies,  while  the  troops  sent  to  their 
relief  were  fenced  out  and  left  to  starve  east  of  the  moun 
tains,  or  to  die  exhausted  with  their  long  march  and  the 
effort  to  force  the  passage. of  the  cascades. 

Among  the  heads  and  hearts  troubled  by  these  fears  was 
Jesse  Applegate.  He  was  very  friendly  with  the  officers 
of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company,  who  had  so  kindly  rescued 
him  and  his  countrymen  from  starvation  in  1843;  and  so 
highly  was  he  esteemed  by  them  that  they  had  yielded 

3  White  has  been  credited  with  being  the  cause  of  the  disasters  which  overtook 
the  portion  of  the  immigration  which  was  lost.  He  mentions  meeting  the  several 
companies  on  the  road  as  he  went  east,  but  says  nothing  of  giving  them  advice  con 
cerning  their  route.  It  is  not  incredible  that  he  spoke  to  them  of  his  belief  that  a 
pass  through  the  mountains  existed  at  the  head  of  the  Wallamet  valley,  from  an 
,  expedition  in  search  of  which  lie  had  just  returned.  At  all  events,  their  guide, 
Stephen  H.  L.  Meek,  undertook  to  pilot  them  to  it,  and  failed.  As  many  as  twenty 
persons  died  from  this  mistake. 


to  his  arguments  in  favor  of  joining  in  the  articles  of 
compact  under  which  the  colony  was  governed;  but  he 
was  aware  that  agents  of  the  British  government  were 
anxiously  inquiring  whether  troops  could  be  brought  from 
Canada  to  Fort  Vancouver  by  the  Hudson's  bay  trail,  and 
he  knew  that  although  the  company,  as  such,  deprecated 
war,  the  individuals  composing  it  were  as  loyal  to  their 
government  as  he  to  his  own. 

Under  this  stress  of  circumstances,  the  colonists  pro- 
posed  to  raise  money  to  pay  the  expense  of  a  survey  of  the 
country  towards  the  south,  and  to  open  a  road  should  the 
survey  be  successful,  which  should  lead  out  of  the  Wall- 
amet  valley  towards  Fort  Hall.  A  company  was  accord 
ingly  formed  in  May,  1846,  under  the  leadership  of  Levi 
Scott,  which  proceeded  as  far  as  the  southern  limit  of  the 
Umpqua  valley,  but  was  compelled,  by  the  desertion  of 
some  of  its  members  as  they  approached  the  Rogue  river 
country,  to  return  home. 

Jesse  Applegate,  who  from  the  first  had  urged  the  ueces- 
sity  of  this  exploration,  now  determined  to  lead  a  company 
in  persons,  which  expedition,  as  organized,  consisted  of 
fifteen  men,  namely,  Jesse  Applegate,  Levi  Scott,  Lindsay, 
Applegate,  David  Goff,  Benjamin  Burch,  John  Scott,  Moses 
Harris,  William  Parker,  Henry  Bogus,  John  Owens,  John 
Jones,  Robert  Smith,  Samuel  Goodhue,  Bennett  Osborne, 
and  William  Sportsman,  who  left  rendezvous  in  Polk 
county  June  twenty-second. 

By  using  great  vigilance  the  party  passed  safely  through 
the  Rogue  river  valley,  though  they  observed  signs  of  a 
skirmish  with  the  Indians  by  a  much  larger  party  which 
had  started  for  California  two  weeks  earlier,  and  had  their* 
horses  stolen,  being  detained  in  camp  until  just  before  the* 
explorers  came  up.     The  Indians,  seeing  the  second  com 
pany,  allowed  the  first  to  escape;  but  finding  the  road- 
hunters   exceedingly  wary,  made  no  attempt  to  molest 
them,  and  contented  themselves  with  pursuing  the  Cali- 
fornia  company  to  the  Siskiyou  mountains. 


An  itinerary  of  the  journey  of  the  explorers  of  the 
southern  immigrant  road  to  Oregon  would  hardly  be  in 
place  here.  It  is  sufficient  to  know  that  they  discovered 
and  opened  a  route  to  Fort  Hall,  which  they  induced  a 
part  of  the  immigration  to  follow;  and  that  misfortunes 
overtook  the  travelers  on  this,  as  well  as  the  northern 
route,  owing  partly  to  neglect  of  discipline,  and  partly 
X  also  to  early  storms  encountered  in  the  canon  of  the  Ump- 
qua.  Such  things  must  be  where  large  companies  invade 
the  wilderness  without  sufficient  forethought.  The  worst 
of  all  was  the  animosity  religiously  cherished  by  those 
who  suffered  in  person  and  property  against  those  who 
meant  to  do  them  and  the  colony  a  favor.  Those  who  got 
into  Oregon  any  way  they  could  had  only  themselves  to 
blame  for  their  troubles;  but  those  who  were  shown  a  way 
which  was  not  after  all  safe  from  accident,  were  tempted 
to  cast  the  blame  of  their  misfortunes  upon  their  guides. 
As  to  depredations  by  the  natives,  they  were  unavoidable 
in  whatsoever  direction  lay  the  route  of  travel.  The  In 
dians  of  the  Humboldt  valley,  and  the  Modoc  and  Klamath 
"  countries,  were  troublesome,  lying  in  ambush  and  shooting 
their  poisoned  arrows  at  men  and  animals.  This  led  to 
retaliation,  and  several  Indians  and  two  white  jnen  were 
killed  in  skirmishes.  It  was  raising  up  enemies  for  the 
future,  whose  hatred  would  have  to  be  washed  out  in 
blood.  Fortunate  was  it  that  at  that  time  these  Indians 
were  not  aware  of  their  own  strength.  Wild  men  they 
were  who  had  not  yet  learned  from  traders,  or  missiona 
ries,  or  Indian  agents,  to  restrain  their  savage  impulses; 
nor  had  they  learned  from  contact  and  example  the  art  of 
war,  which  at  a  later  period  they  practiced  with  signal 

^      The  immigration  of  1846  was  not  large,  not  more  than 

Q  one  thousand  persons.     It  found  the  Oregon  colony  pros- 

•    perous,  and   more  quiet  than  the  previous  year  on  the 

Indian  question.     The  presence  of  an   English   and   an 

American  war  fleet  in  the  Pacific  was  not  unknown  to  the 


natives,  and  had  the  effect  to  intimidate  the  dissatisfied 
and  ignorant,  at  the  same  time  it  caused  the  more  intelli 
gent  to  ask  themselves  what  part  they  were  to  be  allowed 
to  play  in  the  distribution  of  the  continent  among  nations. 
The  Indians  and  colonists  alike  stood  still  to  see  what  was 
to  be  done  with  them. 

News  of  the  settlement  of  the  northern  boundary  arrived 
by  way  of  the  Sandwich  Islands,  before  the  meeting  of  the 
legislature,  but  with  it  no  intimation  that  Linn's  bill  had 
been  passed  organizing  the  territory  of  Oregon ;  but  it  was 
taken  for  granted  that  such  news  must  very  soon  follow, 
and  with  it  the  protection  of  United  States  arms  and  laws. 

In  the  meantime,  as  a  means  of  peace,  the  majority  of 
the  people,  with  the  governor,  actively  promoted  temper 
ance.  Temperance  societies  were  organized  in  the  colony 
at  its  very  commencement.  With  the  first  provisional 
form  of  government,  temperance  laws  were  enacted.  Dr. 
White,  as  Indian  agent,  enforced  the  United  States  laws 
against  selling  liquor  to  Indians;  and  the  legislature  of 
1845  passed  a  prohibitory  law  against  the  introduction  or 
manufacture  of  ardent  spirits. 

Notwithstanding  all  this  care  a  certain  amount  of  what 
was  called  "blue  ruin,"  was  manufactured  out  of  molasses, 
and  sold  to  the  Indians  about  Oregon  City,  who  noisily 
chanted  the  praises  of  "blue  lu  "  in  the  ears  of  the  inhabit-* 
ants  when  they  would  have  preferred  to  have  been  asleep. 
In  his  message  to  the  legislature  of  1840,  Governor  Aber-  * 
nethy  said:  "During  the  last  year,  persons  taking  advan 
tage  of  the  defect  in  our  law,  have  manufactured  and  sold 
ardent  spirits.  We  have  seen  the  effects  (although  the 
manufacture  was  on  a  small  scale)  in  the  midnight  carous 
als  among  the  Indians  during  their  fishing  season,  and 
while  they  had  property  to  dispose  of;  and,  let  me  ask, 
what  would  be  the  consequences  if  the  use  of  it  should  be 
general  in  the  territory?  History  may  hereafter  write  the 
page  in  letters  of  blood."  History,  however,  has  no  such 
charge  against  the  Oregon  colonists,  as  that  the}r  caused 


bloodshed  by  the  introduction  of  intoxicating  drinks 
among  the  natives ;  or  that  they  wantonly,  at  any  time, 
put  the  lives  of  the  people  in  peril,  the  affair  of  Cockstock, 
at  Oregon  City,  being  the  most  bloody  of  any  incident  in 
the  colonial  history  of  western  Oregon.  And  perhaps  a 
good  deal  of  this  immunity  from  war  was  owing  to  the 
caution  of  the  governor,  who  never  failed  to  keep  the 
subject  before  the  people. 

Once  again  a  year  rolled  around  without  bringing  to 
Oregon  the  long  expected  news  that  congress  had  passed 
an  act  organizing  a  territory  west  of  the  Rocky  mountains. 
An  immigration  of  nearly  four  thousand  souls  had  poured 
into  the  Wallamet  valley,  swelling  the  population  to  about 
eight  thousand,  making  the  situation  still  more  critical. 
There  had  not  been  lacking  since  the  first  efforts  at  local 
government  a  certain  element  in  the  colonial  life  which 
favored  setting  up  an  independent  state;  and  the  failure 
of  congress  to  stretch  out  its  hand  and  take  what  was  so 
generously  offered  it,  created  a  discontent  which  grew  with 
every  fresh  disappointment.  We  find  Dr.  White,  in  1843, 
writing  to  the  secretary  of  war,  that  "should  it  (the  Oregon 
bill)  at  last  fail  of  passing  the  lower  house,  suffer  me  to 
predict,  in  view  of  what  so  many  have  had  to  undergo,  in 
person  and  property,  to  get  to  this  distant  country,  it  will 
create  a  disaffection  so  strong  as  to  end  only  in  open 

Dr.  McLoughlin  also  wrote,  in  1844,  to  a  member  of  the 
Hudson's  Bay  Company  in  Canada,  "  They  declare  that  if 
in  ten  years  the  boundary  is  not  settled,  they  will  erect 
themselves  into  an  independent  state."  The  annual  fresh 
importation  of  patriotic  Americans  served  to  discourage 
the  independent  movement;  but  the  legislature  of  1845 
would  not  adopt  the  name  "Oregon  territory,"  because 
congress  had  not  erected  any  such  organization.  The 
boundary  was  at  last  settled,  and  still  Oregon  got  nothing 
but  promises,  and  those  at  long  intervals  of  painful 

THE   CAY  USE  WAR.  91 

In  his  message  to  the  legislature  December  7,  1847, 
Governor  Abernethy  said:  "Our  relations  with  the  In 
dians  become  every  year  more  embarrassing.  They  see 
the  white  man  occupy  their  land,  rapidly  filling  up  the 
country,  and  they  put  in  a  claim  for  pay.  They  have 
been  told  that  a  chief  would  come  out  from  the  United 
States  and  treat  with  them  for  their  lands;  they  have  been 
told  this  so  often  that  they  begin  to  doubt  it;  at  'all 
events/  they  say,  'he  will  not  come  till  we  are  all  dead, 
and  then  what  good  will  blankets  do  us?  We  want  some 
thing  now.'  This  leads  to  trouble  between  the  settler  and 
the  Indians  about  him.  Some  plan  should  be  devised  by 
which  a  fund  can  be  raised  and  presents  made  to  the 
Indians  of  sufficient  value  to  keep  them  quiet  until  an 
agent  arrives  from  the  United  States.  A  number  of  rob 
beries  have  been  committed  by  the  Indians  in  the  upper 
country,  upon  the  emigrants,  as  they  were  passing  through 
their  territory.  This  should  not  be  allowed  to  pass.  An 
appropriation  should  be  made  by  you  sufficient  to  enable 
the  superintendent  of  Indian  affairs  to  take  a  small  party 
in  the  spring  and  demand  restitution  of  the  property,  or 
its  equivalent  in  horses." 

Alas,  the  blow  so  long  apprehended  had  fallen,  and  the 
isolated  Oregon  colony,  cut  off  by  thousands  of  miles  from 
the  parent  government,  without  troops,  without  money, 
without  organization  of  forces  or  arms,  was  suddenly 
brought  face  to  face  with  the  horrors  of  an  Indian  war. 



To  UNDERSTAND  how  the  Cayuse  war  so  suddenly  broke 
out,  it  is  necessary  to  go  back  to  1842,  when  Dr.  Whitman 
went  east,  as  the  Indians  understood,  to  bring  enough  of 
his  people  to  punish  them  for  their  acts  of  violence  towards 
him.  They  saw  him  return  with  a  large  number,  but 
with  no  fighting  men;  and  none  of  those  who  came  re 
mained  in  their  country.  This  was  a  failure  they  were 
quick  to  take  advantage  of,  and  while  it  had  in  it  no 
cause  for  war,  they  felt  more  free  to  practice  their  annoy 
ances  and  thefts  on  Americans,  while  th^y  exhibited  their 
contempt  for  their  former  teachers  by  abandoning  the 
schools.  From  1843  to  1847  there  was  very  little  progress 
made  in  the  education  of  the  Cayuses  and  Nez^gerces, 
and,  in  fact,  Dr.  Whitman  and  Mr.  Spalding  had  almost 
ceased  to  teach,  except  by  example,  but  attended  to  the 
affairs  of  their  stations,  and  waited,  as  did  all  Oregon,  for 
the  act  of  congress  which  was  to  give  this  country  the 
protection  of  the  government  of  the  United  States. 

In  1844  Dr.  Whitman  was  able  to  secure  help  from  the 
passing  immigration,  a  number  of  families  wintering  at 
his  station.  He  also  adopted  a  family  of  orphan  children, 
seven  in  number,  whose  parents  had  died  on  the  journey, 
three  boys  and  four  girls. 



in  the  spring  the  immigrants  went  on  to  the  Walla  met 
valley,  and  in  the  autumn  of  1845  and  1846  there  were 
other  families  who  wintered  at  Waiilatpu. 

During  all  this  time  the  Cayuses  had  been  growing 
more  insolent  and  threatening,  and  the  gentlemen  of  the 
Hudson's  Bay  Company,  who  knew  the  Indian  character 
thoroughly,  frequently  entreated  the  doctor  to  go  away. 
But  the  hope  of  the  safety  to  be  extended  from  his  gov 
ernment,  kept  him  at  his  post,  until  the  growing  impa 
tience  of  the  Indians,  after  the  unfortunate  California  ( 
expedition,  finally  convinced  him  of  the  imminence  of 
the  danger,  and  caused  him  to  arrange  for  a  possible 
removal  to  The  Dalles  by  purchasing  the  property  of  the 
Methodist  mission  at  that  place,  which  he  put  in  charge 
of  his  nephew,  Perrin  B.  Whitman. 

At  the  same  time,  however,  such  was  the  courageous 
persistency  of  the  man,  that  he,  as  late  as  September,  1847, 
purchased  machinery  for  a  new  flouring-mill  for  Waiilatpu 
and  transported  it  to  his  station,  telling  Joel  Palmer,  whom 
he  met  on  the  Umatilla,  that  he  was  going  on,  just  as  he 
always  intended,  but  if  the  Indians  continued  their  hostile 
policy,  he  should  break  up  the  mission,  and  make  his 
home  at  The  Dalles.  To  a  body  of  the  immigrants  on  the 
Umatilla  he  delivered  an  address,  advising  great  caution, 
and  expressing  his  apprehensions  of  an  Indian  war  as  the 
result  of  any  indiscretions  on  the  part  of  the  new  comers. 
John  E.  Ross  has  said,  that  acting  on  Whitman's  advice, 
his  party  encamped  early,  took  their  evening  meal,  and 
when  it  was  dark  moved  to  a  secluded  spot  away  from  the 
rond  to  avoid  being  molested,  and  getting  into  an  affray. 
James  Henry  E;own  has  spoken  of  the  doctor's  warnings 
to  the  immigrants  of  that  year;  and  so  has  Ralph  C.  Geer, 
J.  W.  Grim,  and  Peter  W.  Crawford.  Crawford  kept  a 
journal,  and  from  that  record  many  facts  have  been  gath 
ered.  The  evidence  is  ample  that  Dr.  Whitman  knew 
upon  what  dangerous  ground  he  was  treading. 

Blood  had  already  been  spilled  at  The  Dalles,  a  Mr. 


Shepard  from  St.  Louis  being  killed,  and  two  others 
wounded.  This  affair  was  begun  by  the  usual  thieving  of 
the  Indians.  The  men  robbed  appealed  to  Rev.  A.  F. 
Waller,  who  advised  them  to  take  some  Indian  horses  and 
hold  them  until  the  property  was  restored.  This  brought 
on  an  attack,  with  the  result  of  a  skirmish,  and  about  the 
same  number  of  killed  and  injured  on  both  sides.  Many 
families  were  robbed  between  the  Umatilla  and  The 
Dalles,  their  property  being  carried  to  a  distance  from  the 
road  and  cached.  Mrs.  Geer  came  near  being  killed  at 
the  crossing  of  Des  Chutes  by  an  Indian.  Four  families 
left  near  John  Da}T  river  with  their  wagons,  while  the  men 
of  the  party  were  looking  for  stolen  cattle,  had  everything 
taken  from  them,  even  to  the  last  vestige  of  clothing,  the 
women  and  children  being  left  naked.  They  had  managed 
to  conceal  a  bolt  of  white  muslin,  out  of  which  they  had 
hastily  made  a  covering  when  Ross'  company  overtook 
them  and  gave  them  some  blankets.  By  building  a  fire 
on  the  sand  to  warm  it,  they  were  made  passably  comfort 
able  through  a  frosty  September  night.  These  outrages 
were  known  to  Dr.  Whitman,  and  still  he  remained. 

That  he  was  much  alarmed,  however,  seems  to  be  shown 
by  the  large  number  of  persons — over  seventy  in  all  — 
whom  he  gathered  about  him  at  his  station  for  the  winter. 
Thanks  to  Mr.  Crawford's  journal,  we  are  able  to  obtain 
some  account  of  this  temporary  colony.  From  the  train 
to  which  Crawford  belonged  he  drew  Joseph  and  Hannah 
Smith,  with  five  children  —  one  of  them  a  daughter  aged 
fifteen  years.  Smith  was  sent  to  the  sawmill,  about  twenty 
miles  from  the  mission;  and  Elam  Young,  his  wife,  and 
three  sons,  the  eldest  aged  twenty-four,  the  second  twenty- 
one,  also  were  sent  to  the  sawmill,  where  Young  was  to 
get  out  the  timbers  for  the  new  gristmill  at  the  mission. 
Isaac  Gilliland  was  employed  as  a  tailor  at  the  mission; 
Luke  Saunders  and  wife  as  teachers.  The  latter  had  five 
children,  the  eldest  a  girl  of  fourteen  years.  Miss  Lori  rid  a 
Bewley,  and  her  brother  Crockett  A.  Bewley,  were  also 


employed,  the  young  woman  as  assistant  teacher.  There 
were  besides,  engaged  for  different  service,  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Kimball,  with  five  children,  the  elder  a  girl  of  seventeen 
years;  William  D.  Canfield,  a  blacksmith,  his  wife  Sally 
Ann,  and  five  children,  the  elder  a  girl  of  sixteen;  Peter 
D.  Hall,  his  wife  and  five  children,  the  elder  a  daughter 
of  ten ;  Josiah  Osborne,  a  carpenter,  and  his  wife  Margaret, 
with  three  young  children;  Mrs.  Rebecca  Hays,  and  one 
young  child;  Mr.  Marsh,  and  daughter  aged  eleven;  Jacob 
Hoffman,  and  Amos  Sales  —  in  all  fifty-four  persons. 

Besides  these  there  were  the  mission  family  consisting 
of  the  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Whitman ;  their  seven  adopted  chil 
dren;  Andrew  Rogers,  teacher;  Eliza,  daughter  of  H.  H. 
Spalding,  aged  ten  years;  two  half-caste  children,  girls, 
daughters  of  James  Bridger  and  Joseph  L.  Meek;  two  sons 
of  Donald  Manson  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company,  who 
were  attending  school;  Joseph  Stanfield,  a  Frenchman;  a 
half-breed  tramp,  named  Joe  Lewis,  whom  Dr.  Whitman 
had  taken  in  and  given  employment;  and  another  man  of 
mixed  blood,  named  Nicholas  Finlay,  making  together 
seventy-two  persons  at  the  mission  and  mill,  thirteen  of 
whom  were  American  men,  besides  several  boys  able  to 
bear  arms. 

•It  is  evident  that  so  many  people  were  not  needed  at  the 
mission,  where  nothing  was  being  done  but  preparing  to 
build  the  mill.  The  school  at  this  time,  excepting  the 
children  of  the  immigrants  themselves,  consisted  only  of 
the  few  half-caste  children  already  named,  and  the  Sager 
family,  adopted  by  the  Whitmans. 

About  the  time  Dr.  Whitman  engaged  these  people  to 
remain  with  him  until  spring,  he  had  a  fresh  cause  of  dis 
quiet  in  the  arrival  of  a  party  of  Catholic  priests  in  his 
neighborhood,  one  of  whom  was  invited  by  Tauitowe,  the 
Catholic  chief,  to  settle  among  the  Cayuses.  At  the  very 
time  he  was  bringing  up  his  mill  machinery  from  The 
Dalles,  he  encountered  the  Rev.  A.  M.  A.  Blanchet  at  Fort 
Walla  Walla,  and  with  his  usual  straightforwardness, 


addressed  him  thus:  "I  know  very  well  for  what  purpose 
you  have  come."  "All  is  known,"  replied  Blaiichet;  "I 
come  to  labor  for  the  conversion  of  the  Indians,  and  even 
Americans,  if  they  are  willing  to  listen  to  me." 

That  was  fair  and  open,  and  no  man  knew  better  than 
the  doctor  that  the  Catholic  had  as  much  right  to  be  there 
as  the  Protestant;  but  he  did  not  like  it,  and  so  he  told 
the  bishop,  declaring  he  would  do  nothing  to  assist  him, 
even  to  sell  him  provisions,  showing  by  his  manner  how 
deeply  he  was  stirred,  and  sorrowfully  hurt  by  what  he 
considered  a  dangerous  interference  at  that  time.  This 
conversation  occurred  on  the  twenty-third  of  September. 

At  that  time,  and  for  several  weeks  after,  Thomas  McKay 
was  stopping  at  the  fort,  being  ill,  and  Dr.  Whitman  was 
in  attendance  upon  him.  So  insecure  did  he  feel  himself 
that  he  requested  McKay,  whose  influence  with  the  Indians 
was  almost  unlimited,  to  spend  the  winter  with  him  at 
Waiilatpu.  To  this  McKa}7  replied  that  he  could  not  do 
so,  on  account  of  his  affairs  in  the  Wallamet  valley,  but  if 
the  doctor  so  desired,  he  would  exchange  places  with  him: 
and  the  doctor  promised  to  see  the  property,  but  did  not, 
owing  to  the  exigence  of  affairs  at  hand. 

On  the  fourth  of  November  there  was  a  meeting  of  the 
Cay  use  chiefs  at  Fort  Walla  WalJa  to  determine  whether 
they  should  receive  Catholic  teachers,  and  where,  in  case 
they  did  so,  the  bishop  should  build  his  house.  The  ques 
tions  asked  by  the  chiefs,  Tiloukaikt,  Camaspelo,  Tam- 
sucky,  and  others,  were  whether  the  Pope  had  sent  Blanchet 
to  ask  land  for  a  mission,  to  which  the  bishop  replied  that 
it  was  the  Pope  who  sent  him,  but  not  to  take  land  —  only 
to  save  their  souls;  but  that  having  to  live,  and  being  poor, 
he  must  ask  a  piece  of  land  to  cultivate  for  his  support. 
The  chiefs  wished  to  know  if  the  priests  made  presents;  if 
they  would  cause  the  lands  of  the  Indians  to  be  ploughed; 
would  aid  in  building  their  houses,  or  feed  and  clothe 
their  children,  to  all  of  which  Blanchet  answered  "  No." 
All  this  was  said  openly,  by  an  interpreter  at  the  fort,  and 


the  chiefs  retired  to * confer  together.  Tiloukaikt  finally 
said  that  as  Tauitowe  desired  it,  the  bishop  should  send 
one  to  visit  his  land,  and  select  a  site  for  a  mission. 

On  the  eighth  of  November  Brouillet  went  by  order  of 
the  bishop  to  Waiilatpu  to  look  at  Tiloukaikt's  land,  who, 
with  Indian  fickleness,  had  changed  his  mind,  and  refused 
to  show  any.  He  told  the  priest  that  he  had  no  place  he 
could  give  him  but  Whitman's,  whom  he  intended  to  send 
away ;  to  which  Brouillet  replied  that  he  would  not  have 
that  place.  Immediately  afterwards  he  accepted  Taui- 
towe's  house  on  the  Umatilla,  which  he,  with  Rev.  Mr. 
Rosseau,  set  about  repairing,  and  moved  into  on  the  twenty- 
seventh  of  November.  In  the  meantime,  Dr.  Whitman 
had  several  times  met  Bishop  Blanchet  at  the  fort,  and 
became  somewhat  softened  in  his  sentiments  towards  him 
personally ;  and  on  the  day  before  the  priests  Brouillet  and 
Rosseau  left  the  fort  for  the  Umatilla,  Mr.  Spalding,  and 
Mr.  Rogers  the  teacher,  dined  in  their  company,  all  seem 
ing  mutually  pleased  with  making  the  acquaintance. 

We  have  now  to  consider,  exclusive  of  old  jealousies, 
late  altercations,  or  sectarian  influences,  the  immediate 
cause  of  the  Oayuse  outbreak.  The  large  immigration  of 
1847,  like  most  large  migrations,  had  bred  a  pestilence, 
and  when  it  reached  the  Cayuse  country  was  suffering  the 
most  virulent  form  of  measles,  the  fever  being  of  a  typhoid 
kind,  and  the  disease  often  terminating  fatally. 

All  new  diseases,  especially  those  of  the  skin,  are  quickly 
communicated  to  the  dark  complexioned  races;  and  as  the 
Indians  continually  hung  about  the  trains  pilfering,  some 
times  trading,  or  inviting  the  young  American  lads  to  a 
trial  of  strength  in  wrestling  matches,  it  was  inevitable 
that  many  should  contract  the  disease,  which  rapidly 
spread  among  the  Cayuses.  For  two  months,  or  ever 
since  the  doctor's  return  from  The  Dalles,  he  had  been 
kept  busy  attending  to  the  sick  among  the  Indians,  and 
under  his  own  roof.  So  great  had  been  the  mortality  that 
it  threatened  the  destruction  of  the  Cayuse  tribe,  thirty  of 


whom  had  died  in  the  immediate  vicinity  of  the  mission, 
while  the  sick  were  to  be  found  in  almost  every  lodge. 
"It  was  most  distressing,"  wrote  Spalding,  "to  go  into  a 
lodge  of  some  ten  or  twenty  fires,  and  count  twenty  or 
twenty-five,  some  in  the  midst  of  measles,  others  in  the 
last  stage  of  dysentery,  in  the  midst  of  every  kind  of  filth, 
of  itself  sufficient  to  cause  sickness,  with  no  suitable  means 
to  alleviate  their  inconceivable  sufferings,  with  perhaps 
one  well  person  to  look  after  the  wants  of  two  sick  ones. 
They  were  dying  every  da}7;  one,  two,  and  sometimes  five 
in  a  day,  with  the  dysentery,  which  generally  followed  the 
measles.  Everywhere  the  sick  and  dying  were  pointed  to 
Jesus,  and  the  well  were  urged  to  prepare  for  death." 

In  Dr.  Whitman's  own  house  three  of  his  adopted 
children,  John,  Edward,  and  one  younger,  were  sick  with 
measles,  besides  Mr.  Sales,  Crockett  Bewley,  and  the  two 
half-caste  girls.  Mrs  Osborne  was  still  delicate  from  a 
recent  confinement,  and  her  babe  was  sick.  This  was 
enough  to  occupy  the  attention  of  one  physician,  but 
being  sent  for  to  go  to  the  Umatilla,  Dr.  Whitman  rode 
over  to  the  camp  of  Sticcas  on  the  same  day  that  Brouillet 
arrived  there,  Mr.  Spalding  being  already  at  one  of  the 
other  camps  visiting  the  sick.  The  next  day,  which  was 
Sunday,  the  doctor  called  on  Brouillet,  remaining  but  a 
few  moments,  and  inviting  the  priest  urgently  to  return 
the  visit  when  he  should  be  in  his  vicinity,  an  invitation 
which  seems  to  have  had  some  reference  to  negotiations 
which  were  then  in  progress  for  the  sale  of  Waiilatpu  to 
the  Catholics. 

Brouillet,  in  his  Authentic  Account,  says  that  Dr.  Whit 
man,  during  his  brief  visit  appeared  "much  agitated,"  and 
being  invited  to  dine  refused,  saying  he  had  twenty-five 
miles  to  ride  to  reach  home,  and  he  feared  he  should  be 
late.  Spalding  remained  at  Umatilla,  and  on  Monday 
took  supper  with  the  priest,  remarking  in  the  course  of 
conversation  that  Dr.  Whitman  was  disquieted  because  the 
Indians  were  displeased  with  him  on  account  of  the  sick- 


ness  among  them;  and  that  he  had  been  informed  that 
Tamsucky,  a  Cayuse,  called  The  Murderer,  intended  to  kill 
him.  Spalding  seemed  not  to  be  apprehensive,  probably 
because  he  had  so  often  heard  of  such  threats  in^jthe 
previous  ten  years  that  they  had  ceased  to  have  much 

That  Dr.  Whitman,  however,  had  cause  for  the  agitation 
noticed  by  Brouillet,  there  is  evidence  not  only  in  his 
haste  to  reach  home,  but  in  the  statement  of  Spalding,  who 
heard  it  from  the  inmates  of  the  mission,  that  "the  doctor 
and  his  wife  were  seen  in  tears, and  much  agitated;"  from 
the  testimony  of  Mrs.  Saunders  that  the  family  were  kept 
sitting  up  late  Sunday  night'  in  consultation;  and  from 
the  fact  that  there  was  a  certain  amount  of  preparation 
for,  or  expectation  of  danger  on  the  part  of  those  domiciled 
in  the  doctor's  house,  as  appears  from  the  events  that 
followed.  If  the  doctor  neglected  to  warn  those  outside  of 
his  house,  it  was  because  he  had  no  reason  to  think  they 
would  be  included  in  the  fate  which  threatened  him,  and 
judged  it  better  to  leave  them  in  peace. 

On  the  following  day,  being  Monday,  Joseph  Stanfield, 
the  Frenchman,  brought  in  a  fat  ox  from  the  plains  to  be 
slaughtered,  and  it  was  shot  by  Francis  Sager,  one  of  the 
doctor's  adopted  sons.  Kimball,  Canfield,  and  Hoffman 
were  dressing  the  carcass  in  the  space  between  the  doctor's 
house  and  the  larger  adobe  Mansion  house.  Mr.  Saun 
ders  had  just  collected  his  pupils  for  the  afternoon  session 
of  school ;  Mr.  Marsh  was  grinding  Spalding's  grist  in  the 
mill;  Gilliland  was  at  work  on  his  tailor's  bench  in  the 
adobe  house,*"  Mr.  Hall  was -laying  a  floor  in  a  room  of  the 
doctor's  house;  Mr.  Rogers  was  in  the  garden;  Mr.  Osborne 
and  family  were  in  the  Indian  room,  which  adjoined  the 
doctor's  sitting-room;  John  Sager,  still  an  invalid,  was 
sitting  in  the  kitchen;  Mr.  Canfield  and  family  occupied 
the  blacksmith  shop  for  a  dwelling,  and  Mr.  Sales  occupied 
a  bed  there,  while  young  Bewley  and  the  sick  children 
were  in  bed  in  the  two  houses.  A  good  many  Indians 


were  iu  the  yard  between  the  buildings,  but  as  it  was 
always  so  when  a  beef  was  being  dressed,  no  notice  was 
taken  of  this  circumstance. 

There  had  been  an  Indian  funeral  in  the  morning,  which 
the  doctor  attended,  since  which  he  had  remained  about 
the  house.  Stepping  into  the  kitchen,  perhaps  to  look 
after  John  Sager,  his  voice  was  heard  in  altercation  with 
Tiloukaikt,  and  immediately  after  two  shots  were  fired, 
when  Mrs.  Whitman,  who  was  in  the  dining-room  adjoin 
ing,  cried  out  in  an  anguished  tone,  "Oh,  the  Indians!  the 
Indians!"  as  if  what  had  occurred  were  understood  and 
not  unexpected.1  Running  to  the  kitchen  she  beheld  her 
husband  prostrate  and  unconscious,  with  several  gashes 
from  a  tomahawk  across  his  face  and  neck.  The  sound 
of  the  guns  and  the  yelling  of  the  Indians  outside  of  the 
houses  startled  the  women,  who  were  in  the  Mansion 
house,  who  ran  to  the  doctors  house,  and  offered  their 
assistance  to  Mrs.  Whitman,  who  was  then  binding  up 
the  doctor's  wounds.  At  that  moment  Mr.  Rogers  ran  in, 
wounded,  and  gave  such  assistance  as  he  could  to  the 
women  in  removing  the  doctor  to  the  dining-room.  The 
doors  and  windows  were  then  fastened. 

Meantime,  outside,  the  slaughter  of  the  several  men, 
heads  of  families  and  others,  was  going  on  amid  the 
blood-curdling  noises  of  Indian  warfare;  and  presently, 
the  doctor's  house  was  attacked.  On  going  near  a  window 
Mrs.  Whitman  was  shot  in  the  breast,  when  she  and  all 
with  her  retreated  to  the  chamber  above.  The  Indians 
then  broke  in  the  doors  and  windows,  and  ordered  the 
inmates  of  the  chamber,  including  several  sick  children, 

1  No  clear  account  of  the  massacre  at  Waiilatpu  was  ever  obtained.  After  sifting 
all  the  published  statements,  and  the  depositions  taken  at  the  trial  of  the  Cayuses,  it 
is  still  impossible  to  call  up  anything  like  a  true  mental  impression  of  the  scene. 
That  this  should  be  so  is  unavoidable.  Taking  the  sixty,  odd  men,  women,  and 
children  at  the  mission,  and  thirty  Indians  (the  number  given  by  one  of  the  wit 
nesses),  making  nearly  a  hundred  persons,  divided  into  groups  at  different  points,  it 
Avould  be  impossible  that  any  one  spectator  could  have  seen  all  or  much  of  what 
transpired.  Terror  and  gri£f  colored  the  view  of  that  which  was  seen,  and  subse 
quent  events  created  many  new  impressions.  Such  as  appears  indisputable  is  alone 
presented  here. 

THE  CAY  USE  WAR.  101 

to  come  down  and  go  to  the  Mansion  house;  and,  on 
objections  being  made,  Tamsucky  informed  them  that  their 
lives  would  be  spared  should  they  comply,  but  that  they 
would  perish  if  they  refused;  the  "young  men"  being  de 
termined  to  burn  the  mission  residence. 

Thus  compelled,  all  descended,  except  Mr.  Kimball,  who 
had  a  broken  arm,  and  had  hidden  himself  and  four  sick 
children,  who  were  to  be  sent  for.  Mrs.  Whitman  fainting 
at  the  sight  of  her  dying  husband,  was  laid  upon  a 
wooden  settee,  to  be  carried  to  the  Mansion  house.  As 
the  settee  appeared,  the  Indians,  who  were  now  drawn  up 
in  line  outside,  fired  several  shots,  fatally  wounding  Mrs. 
Whitman,  Mr.  Rogers,  and  Francis  Sager.  The  "  young- 
men  "  then  lashed  Mrs.  Whitman's  face  with  their  whips, 
and  rolled  her  body  in  the  mud  made  by  the  late  Novem 
ber  rains  about  the  door. 

Following  this  scene  was  another  almost  equally  har 
rowing,  when  the  school  children  were  compelled  to  stand 
huddled  together  in  the  kitchen  to  be  shot  at  by  the 
Cayuse  braves.  At  this  point,  however,  their  purpose  was 
suddenly  changed  by  the  interference  of  the- Frenchman, 
Stanfield,  and  by  the  opportunity  to  inflict  further  indig 
nities  upon  the  still  breathing  victims  on  the  ground. 

Two  friendly  Walla  Wallas,  who  had  been  employed 
about  the  mission,  led  the  children  away  to  a  secluded 
apartment,  and  endeavored  to  comfort  them.2  Every  one 
not  killed  was  now  a  prisoner,  and  subject  to  any  brutal 
caprice  of  their  goalers,  who  robbed,  but  did  not  burn  the 
the  mission-house,  and  compelled  the  women  they  had 
made  widows  to  wait  upon  them  as  servants,  and  this 
while  the  dying  still  breathed,  whose  groans  were  heard 

2 In  the  sectarian  controversies  which  followed  the  massacre  of  Waiilatpu,  the 
interposition  of  Stanfield  to  save  the  children  and  women,  was  made  to  appear  a 
proof  of  complicity  with  the  murderers;  but  the  facts  show  him  at  all  times  doing 
what  he  could  to  alleviate  the  misfortunes  he  had  no  power  to  avert.  He  was  no 
more  at  liberty  to  leave  the  mission  than  the  other  prisoners ;  and  being  there  was 
able,  by  not  laying  himself  open  to  suspicion  of  the  Cayuses,  to  perform  many  acts 
of  kindness,  on  one  pretext  or  another,  which  should  have  been  set  down  to  his 
credit  instead  of  proving  him  a  miscreant. 


far  into  the  night.  Thus  closed  the  first  scene  in  the 

The  killed  on  the  afternoon  of  the  twenty-ninth  of 
November,  1847,  were:  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Whitman,  Mr.  Rog 
ers,  John  and  Francis  Sager,  Mr.  Gilliland,  Mr.  Marsh,  Mr. 
Saunders,  and  Mr.  Hoffman.  The  escapes  were:  Mr. 
Osborne  and  family,  who,  at  the  first  sound  of  the  out 
break,  hid  themselves  under  the  floor  of  the  room  they 
occupied,  where  they  remained  until  night,  when  they  left 
the  house  under  cover  of  the  darkness,  and  made  their 
way  to  Fort  Walla  Walla,  barely  escaping  starvation ;  Mr. 
Canfield,  who  hid  himself,  and  fled  to  Lapwai;  and  Mr. 
Hall,  who  snatched  a  gun  from  an  Indian,  and  although 
wounded,  reached  the  cover  of  a  thicket,  whence  he  set 
out  after  dark  for  the  fort,  reaching  it  at  daybreak  on  the 
thirtieth.  There  he  insisted  on  going  to  the  Wallamet, 
and  being  furnished  with  clothing  and  a  boat,  started  on 
his  perilous  journey,  and  was  never  heard  of  more  — 
making  the  tenth  victim  of  the  tragedy,  unless  Mr.  Kim- 
ball  came  before. 

In  the  confusion  of  events  at  the  close  of  the  first  day 
Mr.  Kimball  and  the  four  sick  children  left  in  the  attic 
were  forgotten,  remaining  without  food  or  water  until  the 
next  day,  when  the  sufferings  of  the  children,  as  well  as 
his  own,  induced  him  to  venture  in  search  of  water,  and 
he  was  discovered  and  shot.  On  the  same  day,  James 
Young  from  the  sawmill,  with  a  load  of  lumber  for  the 
mission-house,  was  also  killed.  Two  young  men,  Crockett 
Bewley  and  Amos  Sales,  through  some  unaccountable  leni 
ency  of  the  Indians,  they  being  sick  in  bed,  were  spared 
until  the  following  Tuesday,  December  eighth,  when  they 
were  killed  with  revolting  cruelties.  The  youngest  of  the 
Sager  children  and  Helen  Mar  Meek  died  of  neglect  a  day 
or  two  after  the  first  murders,  making  the  number  of 
deaths  from  Indian  savagery  fifteen. 

The  two  Munson  boys  and  a  Spanish  half-breed  boy, 
whom  Dr.  Whitman*  bad.  raised,  were  separated  from  the 

THE   CAY  USE  WAR.  108 

other  children  the  day  after  the  massacre  and  sent  to  Fort 
Walla  Walla,  the  Indians  not  including  these  in  their 
decree  of  death,  which  doomed  only  American  men  and 

The  massacre  began*  on  Monday,  about  one  o'clock,  and 
was  continued,  as  has  been  narrated,  on  Tuesday.  On 
Wednesday  morning  Joseph  Stanfield  was  preparing  the 
dead  for  burial,  when  there  arrived  at  the  mission  J.  B. 
A.  Brouillet,  the  Catholic  priest  from  the  Umatilla,  who 
lent  his  assistance3  in  committing  to  the  earth  the  mu 
tilated  remains  of  ten  of  the  dead.  The  watchfulness  of 
the  Indians  prevented  any  but  the  briefest  communica 
tion  between  the  captives  and  the  priest,  who  having  done 
what  he  could  returned  to  Fort  Walla  Walla,  and  thence 
to  his  mission. 

The  carousal  of  blood  ended,  the  murderers  seized  upon 
the  property  of  their  victims,  which  they  carried  off,  but 
quarreling  among  themselves  about  its  division,  brought 

3  The  following  is  Brouillet's  statement  concerning  his  visit :  That  before  leaving 
Fort  Walla  Walla,  it  had  been  decided  that  after  going  to  the  Umatilla,  and  visiting 
the  sick  there,  he  should  go  to  Tiloukaikt's  camp,  to  baptize  the  children,  and  such 
adults  as  desired  it.  il  After  having  finished  baptizing  the  infants  and  dying  adults 
of  my  mission,  I  left  Tuesday,  the  thirtieth  of  November,  late  in  the  afternoon,  for 
Tioukaikt's  camp,  where  I  arrived  between  seven  and  eight  o'clock  in  the  evening. 
It  is  impossible  to  conceive  my  surprise  and  consternation  when  upon  my  arrival  I 
learned  that  the  Indians  the  day  before  had  massacred  the  doctor  and  his  wife,  with 
the  greater  part  of  the  Americans  at  the  mission.  I  passed  the  night  without  scarcely 
closing  my  eyes.  Early  the  next  morning  I  baptized  three  sick  children,  two  of 
whom  died  soon  after,  and  then  hastened  to  the  scene  of  death  to  offer  to  the  widows 
and  orphans  all  the  assistance  in  my  power.  I  found  five  or  six  women  and  over 
thirty  children  in  a  condition  deplorable  beyond  description.  Some  had  just  lost 
their  husbands,  and  the  others  their  fathers,  whom  they  had  seen  massacred  before 
their  eyes,  and  were  expecting  every  moment  to  share  the  same  fate.  The  sight 
of  these  persons  caused  me  to  shed  tears,  which,  however,  I  was  obliged  to  conceal, 
for  I  was  the  greater  part  of  the  day  in  the  presence  of  the  murderers,  and  closely 
watched  by  them,  and  if  I  had  shown  too  marked  an  interest  in  behalf  of  the 
sufferers,  it  would  have  endangered  their  lives  and  mine  ;  these  therefore  entreated 
me  to  be  on  my  guard.  After  the  first  few  words  that  could  be  exchanged  under 
those  circumstances,  I  inquired  after  the  victims,  and  was  told  that  they  were  yet 
unburied.  Joseph  Stanfield,  a  Frenchman,  who  was  in  the  service  of  Dr.  Whitman, 
and  had  been  spared  by  the  Indians,  was  engaged  in  washing  the  corpses,  but  being 
alone  he  was  unable  to  bury  them.  I  resolved  to  go  and  assist  him,  so  as  to  render 
to  those  unfortunate  victims  the  last  service  111  my  power  to  offer  them.  What  a 
sight  did  I  then  behold !  Ten  dead  bodies  lying  here  and  there,  covered  with  blood 
and  bearing  the  marks  of  the  most  atrocious  cruelty,  some  pierced  with  balls,  others 
more  or  less  gashed  by  the  hatchet":  BrouWet' 8  Authentic  Account  of  (tie  Murder  of 
Dr.  Whitman. 


back  and  replaced  it,  except  such  articles  as  were  con 
verted  to  their  use  upon  the  spot.4  namely,  provisions  and 
clothing.  Thus  the  remainder  of  the  week  wore  away 
without  any  signs  of  rescue,  or  relief  from  the  horrible 
apprehensions  which  preyed  upon  all  minds.  On  Satur 
day  Brouillet's  interpreter  arrived  at  the  mission,  riding 
a  horse  that  belonged  to  Mr.  Spalding,  which  caused  his 
friends  there  to  believe  he  had  also  been  murdered,  but  no 
opportunity  was  given  for  inquiring,  and  on  the  following 
day  the  interpreter  left. 

Having  by  this  time  exhausted  the  excitement  attending 
upon  the  massacre,  and  meeting  with  neither  punishment 
nor  opposition  from  any  quarter,  the  chiefs  determined 
upon  adding  to  murder  and  rapine  the  violation  of  the 
young  women  and  girls  in  their  power. .  The  first  of  these 
outrages  was  perpetrated  upon  Miss  Bewley  by  Tamsucky, 
who  dragged  her  away  from  the  house  Saturday  night, 
and  continued  to  force  compliance  with  his  wishes  while 
she  remained  at  the  mission.  The  sons  of  Tiloukaikt  fol 
lowed  his  example,  and  took  the  fifteen-year-old  daughter 
of  Joseph  Smith  to  their  lodge,  with  the  consent  of  her  father, 
such  was  the  abject  fear  to  which  all  those  in  the  power  of 
the  Indians  were  reduced.  Susan  Kimball  also  was  car 
ried  away  to  the  lodge  of  Tintinmitsi,  her  father's  mur 
derer,  known  to  the  white  people  as  Frank  Escaloom.5 
Other  sufferers  escaped  a  painful  notoriety ;  and  one  young 
widow  was  saved  by  the  mingled  wit  and  wisdom  of  Stan- 
field,  who  pretended  she  was  his  wife.6 

4Catbine  Sager  testified  to  seeing  Tiloukaikt  wearing  one  of  Mrs.  Whitman's 
dresses,  and  another  having  on  her  brother's  coat :  From  Depositions  taken  at  the  Trial 
of  the  Cayuses. 

"The  names  of  the  other  victims  of  savage  brutality  have  never  transpired,  nor 
need  any  have  been  known  but  for  the  bitter  sectarian  controversy  which  forced 
these  matters  into  notice.  Spalding  asserted,  in  some  lectures  delivered  in  1806-67, 
that  women  and  little  girls  were  subjected  to  brutal  treatment.  Elam  Young,  in  a 
sworn  deposition,  says:  "A  few  days  after  we  got  there  two  young  women  were 
taken  as  wives  by  the  Indians,  which  I  opposed,  and  was  threatened  by  Smith,  who 
was  very  anxious  that  it  should  take  place,  and  that  oilier  little  girls  should  be  given 
up  for  wives  :  Gray's  History  of  Oregon,  483. 

°The  day  after  the  massacre,  Tiloukaikt,  finding  Stanfield  near  the  house  in 
which  the  women  and  children  were  confined,  asked  him  if  he  had  anything  in  the 

THE   CAY  USE  WAR.  105 

On  Sunday  following  the  massacre,  Daniel  Young  ar 
rived  at  the  mission  from  the  sawmill  to  inquire  why  his 
brother  James  had  not  returned,  and  learned  the  news  of 
the  massacre  of  Monday,  and  his  brother's  death  on  Tues 
day.  He  was  permitted  the  next  day  to  carry  the  dread 
ful  intelligence  to  the  families  at  the  mill;  but  was  followed 
by  three  Cayuses,  who  ordered  all  those  there  to  remove  to 
Waiilatpu,  where  they  arrived  on  Tuesday,  to  find  that 
the  two  young  men,  Bewley  and  Sales,  had  been  murdered 
in  their  beds  that  day,  and  were  ordered  to  attend  to  their 

It  would  seem  like  a  caprice  for  the  Indians  to  have 
spared  the  lives  of  Smith  and  the  two  Youngs,  were  it 
not,  on  second  thought,  plain  that  the  services  of  these 
men  were  required  to  enable  the  Indians  to  enjoy  the 
fruits  of  their  butchery,  or  even  to  bury  Iheir  own  dead, 
as  they  had  been  taught  by  the  missionaries  to  do.  After 
the  murder  of  Bewley  and  Sales,  the  oldest  male  American 
captive  was  Nathan  Kimball,  aged  thirteen;  and  adult 
men  were  needed  to  perform  the  labor  of  grinding  at  the 
mill,  and  otherwise  looking  after  the  maintenance  of  the 
large  number  of  women  and  children  at  the  mission,  and 
for  this  reason  the  lives  of  Smith  and  Young  were  spared. 
But  although  they  lived,  they  had  no  power  to  abate  the 
horrors  of  captivity  suffered  by  the  women  and  children. 

On  Thursday  a  new  trouble  was  added.  Word  had 
been  sent  to  Five  Crows  that  he  could  have  his  choice  of 
the  young  women  for  a  wife,  and  his  choice  had  fallen  on 

*  house.  "Yes,"  said  Stanfield,  "my  things  are  there."  "Take  them  away,"  said 
the  chief.  "Why  should  I  ?"  asked  Stanfield ;  but  the  chief  insisted.  "  Not  only  are 
my  things  all  there,  but  my  wife  and  children,"  said  Stanfieid.  "You  have  a  wife 
and  children  in  the  house  ?"  exclaimed  Tiloukaikt,  surprised.  "  Will  you  take  them 
away?"  "No,"  said  Stanfield,  "  I  will  not;  but  1  will  go  and  stay  with  them.  I  see 
you  have  evil  designs ;  you  would  kill  the  women  and  children.  Well,  you  may  kill 
me  with  them!  Are  you  not  ashamed?"  This  ruse  saved  almost  half  a  hundred 
lives.  Later  Stanfield  told  the  people  in  the  house  that  he  was  married  to  Mrs.  Hays, 
and  when  they  were  incredulous  and  questioned  him,  he  replied,  "  We  are  married, 
and  that  is  enough  !"  This  declaration,  if  believed,  was  sufficient  to  prevent  any  in 
terference  by  the  Indians,  Stanfield  being  a  Frenchman,  and  so,  under  the  protection 
of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company.  It  is  difficult  to  perceive  how  Stanfield  could  have 
done  more  for  the  captives  than  he  did  do. 


Miss  Bewley,  for  whom  a  horse  and  an  escort  was  sent  on 
that  day.  Up  to  this  point  it  does  not  appear  that  the 
Umatilla  Cayuses  had  taken  any  part  in  the  outrages  of 
Tiloukaikt's  camp;  and  this  gift  of  Miss  Bewley  to  Five 
Crows  was  a  bribe  to  secure  his  concurrence  in  future,  if 
not  his  approval  of  the  past.  For  although  neither  Five 
Crows  nor  Tauitowe  consented  to  the  murders,  they,  with 
Indian  stolidity,  verified  Spalding's  judgment  of  the  sav 
age  when  he  said  in  his  report  to  White,  that  he  "  had  no 
evidence  to  suppose  but  a  vast  majority  of  them  would 
look  on  with  indifference  and  see  our  dwellings  burnt  to 
the  ground,  and  our  heads  severed  from  our  bodies." 

Miss  Bewley  had  been  ill  from  the  effect  of  the  shocks 
to  which  she  had  been  subjected,  but  was  compelled  to 
make  the  journey  on  horseback,  camping  out  one  night 
in  a  snowstorm.  All  the  comfort  that  her  fellow  captives 
were  able  to  give  her  was  the  suggestion  that  she  would 
be  safer  at  the  Catholic  station  than  where  she  was.7  Such 
was  the  history  of  the  first  ten  days  following  the  massacre 
at  the  mission. 

We  have  now  to  account  for  those  who  escaped  on  that 
day,  namely,  Hall,  Osborne,  and  Canfield.  Hall  having 
snatched  a  gun  from  an  Indian,  defended  himself  with  it 
and  reached  the  cover  of  the  trees  that  grew  along  the 
Walla  Walla  river.  After  dark  he  fled  towards  Fort  Walla 
Walla,  where  he  arrived  on  the  following  morning  with 
the  story  of  the  massacre  so  far  as  seen  by  him,  intelligence 
which  appears  to  have  given  very  great  alarm  to  Mr.  Mc- 
Bean,  the  agent  in  charge.  Hall  was  furnished  with  the 
Hudson's  bay  cap  and  coat,  with  such  articles  as  would  be 
required  on  his  journey,  and  proceeded  towards  the  Walla- 
inet  on  the  north  side  of  the  Columbia.  He  was  never 
.heard  of  afterwards. 

Mr.  Osborne  with  his  wife  and  three  children  secreted 
themselves  under  the  floor  of  their  apartment,  remaining 
there  until  night,  when  they  also  attempted  to  get  to  Walla 

:  Deposition  of  Elaui  Young :     Gray's  History  of  Oregon,  483. 

THE   CAY  USE  WAR.  107 

Walla.  But  Mrs.  Osborne  being  ill,  was  able  to  go  only 
two  miles,  and  for  this  reason,  and  from  fear  of  the  Indians, 
they  were  compelled  to  conceal  themselves  during  Tuesday, 
suffering  from  hunger,  cold,  and  every  want.  On  Tuesday 
night  three  miles  was  accomplished,  and  Wednesday  spent 
in  concealment.  That  night  the  father  took  one  of  the 
children  and  started  again  for  the  fort,  which  he  reached 
Thursday  forenoon,  being  kindly  received  by  McBean, 
who,  however,  was  disinclined  at  first  to  entertain  him 
and  his  family,  and  could  not  furnish  horses  to  bring  them 
to  the  fort, -but  insisted  on  their  going  to  the  Umatilla.8 
The  arrival,  about  noon,  of  the  Indian  painter,  J.  M. 
Stanley,  from  Fort  Colville,9  was  a  fortunate  occurrence, 
for  he  forthwith  offered  his  horses  to  Osborne,  with  such 
articles  of  clothing  as  were  indispensable,  and  some  pro 
visions  left  over  from  his  journey.  With  this  example  of 
what  might  be  expected  of  himself,  McBean  took  courage 
and  furnished  an  Indian  guide  to  assist  Osborne  in  finding 
his  family,  which  was  finally  brought  to  the  fort  on  Fri 
day,  in  a  famishing  condition,  and  given  such  cold  com 
fort  as  a  blanket  on  a  bare  floor,  food,  and  fire  could 
impart,10  and  here  the  family  remained  until  the  day  of 
their  deliverance.. 

8  Affidavit  of  Osborne  in  the  Oregon  American  and  Evangelical  Unionist,  July  19, 1848. 
The  fugitives  who  sought  refuge  at  the  fort  made  complaints  of  their  reception,  and 
charged  McBean's  conduct  to  his  religion  ;  but  he  was  probably  afraid  of  an  attack 
on  the  fort,  as  his  letter,  given  elsewhere,  intimates.    The  Americans,  in  judging  of 
the  conduct  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company's  officers,  never  made  sufficient  allowance 
for  the  greater  caution  of  the  British  subjects  generally  in  all  matters,  and  particu 
larly  the  long  experience  of  the  company  with  Indians.    A  number  of  times  their 
forts  had  been  attacked,  and  more  than  once  their  agents  had  been  killed.    C.  B. 
Roberts,  for  mauy  years  confidential  clerk  at  Vancouver,  says  in  his  Historical  Recol 
lections,  MS.:    "As  to  McBean,  I  know  very  little  to  say  in  his  favor.    He  was,  I 
think,  a  half-breed  from  Red  river  — a  bigoted  Catholic  of  narrow  views  and  educa 
tion."    That  he  changed  his  course  seems  sure  evidence  of  a  strong  governing 

9  Stanley  had  a  narrow  escape,  although  unconscious  of  it  at  the  time.    He  was 
stopped  and  questioned  as  to  his  nationality.     Was  he  American  ?  No.    French  ?  No. 
English?  No.    What  then  ?  A  Buckeye.    As  his  questioners  knew  nothing  against  or 
about  Buckeyes,  and  as  he  offered  them  tobacco,  he  was  allowed  to  pass. 

10Osbome  charged  two  oblate  priests,  who  were  staying  at  the  fort,  with  cruelty 
in  not  offering  their  bed  to  his  sick  wife.  Mr.  Stanley  being  called  upon  to  give  his 
evidence,  testified  as  follows  :  "I  occupied  a  room  with  two  or  more  of  the  Catholic 


Mr.  Canfield,  who  was  in  the  yard  when  the  attack  was 
made  on  the  men  engaged  in  dressing  the  heef,  ran  past 
the  shop  where  his  family  lived,  snatching  up  his  youngest 
child,  and  calling  to  the  others  to  follow,  succeeded  in 
reaching  a  chamber  in  the  Mansion  house,  where  they  re 
mained  undiscovered  until  night,  and  the  Indians  had 
retired  to  their  lodges.  He  then  found  Stanfield,  who 
directed  him  to  a  place  four  miles  on  the  road  to  Lapwai, 
and  who  promised  to  bring  him  a  horse  the  next  morning, 
but  was  unable  to  do  so ;  and  after  lying  concealed  over 
Tuesday,  set  out  on  foot  for  the  Nez  Perces  country.  On 
Friday  he  reached  Snake-river  crossing,  and  was  ferried 
over  and  piloted  to  Spalding's  place  by  the  Nez  Perces  In 
dians  (who  were  yet  ignorant  of  what  had  taken  place  at 
Waiilatpu),  which  he  reached  on  Saturday,  conveying  to 
Mrs.  Spalding  the  terrible  news  of  the  massacre  of  her 
friends,  her  daughter's  captivity,  and  the  probable  death 
of  her  husband  of  whom  nothing  had  been  heard  since 
Dr.  Whitman's  return  from  the  Umatilla. 

With  remarkable  courage,  and  with  that  insight  into 
Indian  character  which  distinguished  her,  Mrs.  Spalding 
decided  on  her  course  of  action.  The  only  person  at  her 
house,  besides  her  young  children,  was  Miss  Johnson,  her 

priests ;  and  their  beds  consisted  of  two  blankets  with  a  stick  of  wood  for  their 
pillow..  *  *  *  Mr.  McBean  procured  for  him  (Osborne)  a  trusty  Walla  Walla 
Indian  to  return  with  him  for  his  family,  but  having  no  horses  at  the  post,  I  prof 
fered  the  use  of  my  own  until  he  should  reach  the  company's  farm,  about  twenty 
miles  distant,  where  he  was  supplied  with  fresh  ones.  Had  it  not  been  for  the 
guide's  perseverance,  Mrs.  Osborne  and  children  must  have  perished.  Mr.  Osborne, 
despairing  of  finding  the  place  where  he  had  left  them,  proposed  to  the  Indian  to 
return.  The  Indian  said  he  was  told,  by  McBean  not  to  return  without  finding  them, 
and  he  continued  his  search  until  he  discovered  their  concealment.  They  arrived 
at  the  fort  early  in  the  evening  of  the  third  of  December,  and  Mr.  McBean  said  he 
would  protect  them  with  his  life.  They  were  not  allowed  to  go  three  days  without 
provisions,  but  on  the  contrary  were  furnished  daily  with  such  provisions  as  were 
used  by  Mr.  McBean  and  family.  Mr.  McBean  proffered  a  blanket  to  Mr.  Osborne  on 
his  credit,  and  I  am  quite  positive  the  article  was  not  asked  for  by  Mr.  Osborne. 
Signed.  J.  M.  STANLF.Y." 

Oregon  City,  March  10, 1848. 

Osborne's  own  affidavit  confirms  Stanley's  statement  concerning  the  rescue  of  his 
family  after  he  had  given  them  up,  and  McBean's  declaration  that  he  would  protect 
them  with  his  life.  The  sufferings  experienced  by  the  survivors  of  the  Waiilatpu 
massacre  were  such,  with  the  prejudices  imbibed  beforehand,  as  to  render  them 
incapable  of  giving  clear  accounts  of  what  had  taken  place. 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  109 

assistant.  Her  brother  Mr.  Hart,  and  a  Mr.  Jackson  usu 
ally  at  the  mission,  were  absent,  one  on  a  visit  to  the 
Spokane  station,  and  the  other  on  the  road  from  Waiilatpu, 
which  place  he  left  with  a  pack  train  of  flour  only  three 
hours  before  the  massacre.  The  only  other  American  in 
the-  Nez  Perces  country  was  William  Craig,  a  mountain 
man,  who  had  a  place  ten  miles  up  the  Lapwai  creek,  the 
mission  being  at  its  mouth.  There  was  nothing  therefore 
to  be  hoped  for  from  the  people  of  her  own  race,  and  she 
determined  to  throw  herself  upon  the  generosity  of  the 
Nez  Perces  before  they  had  time  to  hear  from  the  Cayuses. 
Fortunately,  two  influential  chiefs  were  at  the  mission, 
Jacob  and  Eagle,  whom  she  at  once  informed  of  what  had 
taken  place  at  Waiilatpu,  deputizing  one  to  break  the 
news  to  the  camp,  and  sending  the  other  with  a  letter  to 
Mr.  Craig.11 

It  was  thought  best  by  the  Indians  for  Mrs.  Spalding  to 
remove  to  Craig's  place  where  they  had  their  winter  camp 
on  account  of  wood,  and  to  this  she  consented.  Although 
the  Nez  Perces  expected  the  Cayuses,  and  kept  guard  at 
night,  Mrs.  Spalding  refused  to  leave  the  mission  before 
Monday,  but  waited  to  see  Craig,  who  came  down  during 
Saturday  night,  and  endeavored  to  get  some  Indians  to 
carry  expresses  to  Walker  and  Eells,  and  to  her  daughter. 
This  was  no  easy  matter,  but  Eagle  finally  consented  to 
undertake  the  dangerous  duty. 

On  Monday  the  family  at  the  mission  was  removed  to 
Craig's,  where  Mr.  Jackson  arrived  on  Tuesday.  And  now 
came  the  test  of  character  with  the  Nez  Perces.  While 
those  immediately  under  Mrs.  Spalding's  influence  re 
mained  friendly,  Joseph,  a  principal  chief  in  the  absence 
of  Ellis,  and  a  member  of  the  church  at  Lapwai  of  eight 
years  standing,  with  others  of  his  following,  a  number 
of  whom  were  also  church  members,  joined  with  a  few 

11  Mr.  Spaldiiig  names,  besides  Jacob  and  Eagle,  Luke  and  his  two  brothers,  mem 
bers  of  his  church,  and  James,  a  Catholic,  who  was  particularly  friendly  to  himself 
and  family,  with  most  of  their  people  :  Oregon  American,  August  16,  1848. 


from  James'  camp  in  plundering  the  mission  buildings.12 
Let  us  now  follow  Mr.  Spalding,  whom  Dr.  Whitman 
left  on  the  Umatilla,  and  who  had  taken  supper  with 
the  Catholic  priests  on  the  fatal  twenty-ninth  of  Novem 
ber,  quite  unconscious  of  the  horror  that  had  fallen  upon 

On  Wednesday,  December  first,  after  concluding  his 
visits  to  the  sick  in  that  neighborhood,  Mr.  Spalding  set 
out  on  his  return  to  Whitman's  station  on  horseback,  driv 
ing  before  him  some  pack  horses,  as  was  the  custom  of  the 
country.  When  near  the  crossing  of  the  Walla  Walla 
river,  and  about  three  miles  from  the  mission,  he  met 
Brouillet  returning  from  Waiilatpu,  accompanied  by  his 
interpreter,  and  Edward  Tiloukaikt.  The  interview  which 
took  place  is  best  told  by  Brouillet,  as  follows:  "'Fortu 
nately,  a  few  minutes  after  crossing  the  river  the  interpre 
ter  asked  Tiloukaikt's  son  for  a  smoke.  They  proposed 
the  calumet,  but  when  the  moment  came  for  lighting  it, 
there  was  nothing  to  make  a  fire.  'You  have  a  pistol,' 
said  the  interpreter;  'fire  it  and  we  will  light.'  Accord 
ingly,  without  stopping,  he  fired  his  pistol,  reloaded  it 
and  fired  again.  He  then  commenced  smoking  with  the 
interpreter  without  thinking  of  reloading  his  pistol.  A 
few  minutes  after,  while  they  were  thus  engaged  in  smok 
ing,  I  saw  Mr.  Spalding  come  galloping  towards  me.  In  a 
moment  he  was  at  my  side,  taking  me  by  the  hand,  and 
asking  for  news.  'Have  you  been  to  the  doctor's?'  he  in 
quired.  ' Yes,'  I  replied.  'What  news?'  'Sad  news.'  'Is 
any  person  dead?'  'Yes,  sir.'  'Who  is  dead?  Is  it  one 
of  the  doctor's  children?'  (He  had  left  two  of  them  very 
sick.)  'No,'  I  replied.  'Who  then  is  dead?'  I  hesitated 
to  tell  him.  'Wait  a  moment,'  said  I;  'I  cannot  tell  you 
now.'  While  Mr.  Spalding  was  asking  me  these  different 

12  Says  Spalding  :  '  Here  was  an  opportunity  for  religion  to  show  itself  if  there  was 
any.  Never  before  had  temptation  come  to  Joseph  and  his  native  brethren  in  the 
church  in  this  dress.  But  now  it  came,  and  his  fall,  as  I  regard  it,  and  that  of  some 
others,  has  given  the  Christian  world  a  lesson  that  should  be  well  studied,  before  it 
again  places  the  lives  and  property  of  missionaries  at  the  mercy  of  lawless  savages, 
without  a  military  force  to  keep  them  in  awe  "  :  Oregon  American,  August  16,  181". 

3  K  A 



questions,  1  had  spoken  to  my  interpreter,  telling  him  to 
entreat  the  Indian  in  my  name  not  to  kill  Mr.  Spalding, 
which  I  begged  of  him  as  a  special  favor,  and  hoped  that 
he  would  not  refuse  me.  I  was  waiting  for  his  answer, 
and  did  not  wish  to  relate  the  disaster  to  Mr.  Spalding 
before  getting  it,  for  fear  that  he  might  by  his  manner 
discover  to  the  Indian  what  I  had  told  him,  for  the  least 
motion  like  flight  would  have  cost  him  his  life,  and  prob 
ably  exposed  mine  also.  The  son  of  Tiloukaikt,  after  hesi 
tating  some  moments,  replied  that  he  could  not  take  it 
upon  himself  to  save  Mr.  Spaldiug,  but  that  he  would  go 
back  and  consult  with  the  other  Indians;  and  so  he  started 
back  immediately  to  his  camp.  I  then  availed  myself  of 
his  absence  to  satisfy  the  anxiety  of  Mr.  Spalding." 

The  news  was  quickly  told,  for  there  was  no  time 
to  be  lost.  Brouillet  represents  Spalding  as  paralyzed  by 
it.  uls  it  possible!  Is  it  possible!"13  he  repeated  several 
times.  "They  will  certainly  kill  me;"  and  he  was  unable 
to  come  to  any  conclusion.  Urged  by  Brouillet  to  rouse 
himself  and  decide  upon  a  course,  he  resolved  to  fly,  and 
leaving  his  loose  horses  in  charge  of  the  interpreter,  with 
a  little  food  given  him  by  the  priest  turned  aside  into  the 
pathless  waste,  with  his  face  set  in  the  direction  of  home. 
His  horse  straying,  after  a  painful  journey  of  a  week  on 
foot,  traveling  only  at  night,  he  reached  Craig's  on  the 
day  after  Mrs.  SpaTding's  removal  to  that  place. 

Meantime,  on  the  very  day  of  the  removal,  a  messenger 
from  the  Cay  uses  arrived  with  a  statement  of  what  had 
been  done  by  them,  and  the  reasons  for  their  acts,  with  a 
demand  for  an  expression  of  opinion  by  the  Nez  Perces. 
A  majority  preferred  remaining  neutral  until  they  knew 
what  course  was  likely  to  be  pursued  by  the  white  people 
in  the  country.  This  course  was  commended  and  encour 
aged  by  Spalding,  who,  after  counseling  with  the  chiefs, 

13  Eighteen  years  afterwards  Mr.  Spalding  said  to  the  writer  of  this  :  "  I  felt  the 
world  all  blotted  out  at  once,  and  sat  on  my  horse  as  rigid  as  a  stone,  not  knowing  or 
feeling  anything  ;"  and  the  sweat  of  a  long  past  anguish  stood  out  on  his  forehead 
as  he  recounted  the  history  of  that  time. 


wrote  a  letter  to  Blanchet  and  Brouillet  to  assure  them  of 
his  safety,  and  also  to  settle  the  question  of  policy  towards 
the  Cay  uses.  It  runs  as  follows:— 

CLEAR  WATER,  December  10,  1847. 
To  the  bishop  of  Walla  Walla,  or  either  of  the  Catholic  priests : 

REVEREND  AND  DEAR  FRIEND  :  This  hasty  note  may  inform 
you  that  I  am  yet  alive  through  the  astonishing  mercy  of  God. 
The  hand  of  the  merciful  God  brought  me  to  my  family  after  six 
days  and  nights  from  the  time  my  dear  Mend  furnished  me  with 
provisions,  and  I  escaped  from  the  Indians.  My  daughter  is  yet  a 
captive,  I  fear,  but  in  the  hands  of  our  merciful  heavenly  father. 
Two  Indians  have  gone  for  her.14  My  object  in  writing  is  princi 
pally  to  give  information  through  you  to  the  Cayuses  that  it  is  our 
wish  to  have  peace ;  that  we  do  not  wish  the  Americans  to  come 
from  below  to  avenge  the  wrong  ;  we  hope  the  Cayuses  and  Ameri 
cans  will  be  on  friendly  terms  ;  that  Americans  will  no  more  come 
in  their  country  unless  they  wish  it.  As  soon  as  these  men  return, 
I  hope,  if  alive,  to  send  them  to  the  governor  to  prevent  Americans 
from  coming  up  to  molest  the  Cayuses  for  what  is  done.  I  know 
that  you  will  do  all  in  your  power  for  the  relief  of  the  captives,  women 
and  children,  at  Waiilatpu ;  you  will  spare  no  pains  to  appease 
and  quiet  the  Indians.  There  are  five  Americans  here  (men),  my 
wife  and  three  children,  one  young  woman,  and  two  Frenchmen. 
We  cannot  leave  the  country  without  help.  Our  help,  under  God, 
is  in  your  hands,  and  in  the  hands  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company. 
Can  help  come  from  that  source?  Ask  their  advice  and  let  me 
know.  I  am  certain  that  if  the  Americans  should  attempt  to  come 
it  would  be  likely  to  prove  the  ruin  of  us  all  in  this  upper  country, 
and  would  involve  the  country  in  war ;  God  grant  that  they  may 
not  attempt  it.  At  this  moment  I  have  obtained  permission  of  the 
Indians  to  write  more,  but  I  have  but  a  moment.  Please  send  this 
or  copy  to  Governor  Abernethy.  The  Nez  Perec's  held  a  meeting 
yesterday  ;  they  pledged  themselves  to  protect  us  from  the  Cayuses 
if  they  [we]  would  prevent  the  Americans  from  coming  up  to 
avenge  the  murders.  This  we  have  pledged  to  do,  and  for  this  we 
beg  for  the  sake  of  our  lives  at  this  place  and  at  Mr.  Walker's.  By 
all  means  keep  quiet  and  send  no  war  reports ;  send  nothing  but 
proposals  for  peace.  They  say  they  have  buried  the  death  of  the 
Walla  Walla  chiefs  son,  killed  in  California.  They  wish  us  to  bury 
this  offense.  I  hope  to  write  soon  to  Governor  Abernethy,  but  as 
yet  the  Indians  are  not  willing,  but  are  willing  I  should  send  those 
hints  through  you.  I  hope  you  will  send  by  all  means  and  with  all 

."They  did  not  succeed  in  bringing  her  away. 

THE   CAYU8E  WAR.  113 

speed  to  keep  quiet  in  the  Willamette.     Could  Mr.  Grant15  come 
this  way,  it  would  be  a  great  favor  to  us,  and  do  good  to  the  Indians. 

I  just  learn  that  these  Indians  wish  us  to  remain  in  the  country 
as  hostages  of  peace.  They  wish  the  communication  for  Americans 
to  be  kept  open.  We  are  willing  to  remain  so,  if  peace  can  be  se 
cured.  It  does  not  seem  stife  for  us  to  attempt  to  leave  the  country 
in  any  way  at  present.  May  the  God  of  heaven  protect  us  and 
finally  bring  peace.  These  two  men  go  to  make  peace,  and  when 
they  return,  if  successful  with  the  Cay  uses,  they  will  go  to  the 
Willamette.  We  have  learned  that  one  man  escaped  to  Walla 
Walla,  crossed  over  the  river,  and  went  below.  He  would  naturally 
suppose  that  all  were  killed.  Besides  myself,  another  white  man 
escaped  wounded  and  reached  my  place  three  days  before  I  did. 

Late  Indian  reports  say  that  no  women,  except  Mrs.  Whitman, 
or  children,  were  killed,  but  all  are  in  captivity.  These  people,  if 
the  Cayuses  consent,  will  bring  them  all  to  this  place. 

I  traveled  only  nights,  and  hid  myself  days,  most  of  the  way  on 
foot,  as  my  horse  escaped  from  me  ;  suffered  some  days  from  hunger 
and  cold  and  sore  feet ;  had  no  shoes,  as  I  threw  my  boots  away, 
not  being  able  to  wear  them,  and  also  left  blankets.  God  in  mercy 
brought  me  here.  From  the  white  man  who  escaped  and  from  the 
Indians,  we  learn  that  an  Indian  from  the  states,16  who  was  in  the 
employ  of  Dr.  Whitman,  was  at  the  head  of  the  bloody  affair,  and 
helped  demolish  the  windows  and  take  the  property.  We  think  the 
Cayuses  have  been  urged  into  the  dreadful  deed.  God  in  mercy 
forgive  them,  for  they  know  not  what  they  do.  Perhaps  these  men 
can  bring  my  horses  and  things.  Please  give  all  particulars  you 
have  been  able  to  learn,  and  what  news  has  gone  below.  How  do 
the  women  and  children  fare?  How  extensive  is  the  war?  In  giving 
this  information,  and  sending  this  letter  below  to  Governor  Aber- 
nethy,  you  will  oblige  your  afflicted  friend.  I  would  write  directly 
to  the  governor,  but  the  Indians  wish  me  to  rest  until  they  return. 
Yours  in  affection  and  with  best  wishes. 

(Signed.)  H.  H.  SPALDING. 

The  Nez  Perces  who  brought  this  letter,  evidently 
written  under  stress  of  circumstances,  and  guardedly,  were 
Inimilpip  and  Tipialanahkeikt,  sub-chiefs,  and  members 
of  Mr.  Spalding's  congregation.  After  a  conference  with 
the  bishop  and  Brouillet,  they  visited  the  Cayuses,  whom 
they  advised  to  take  measures  for  avoiding  a  war  with  the 
Americans.  They  requested  Blanchet  to  write  to  Governor 

15  Mr.  James  Grant  was  in  charge  of  the  Hudson's  bay  post  at  Fort  Hall. 

10  Joe  Lewis,  the  half-breed  already  mentioned. 


Abernethy  not  to  send  up  an  army,  but  to  come  himself 
in  the  spring  and  make  a  treaty  of  peace  with  the  Cayuses, 
who  would  then  release  the  captives,  whom  they  would  in 
the  meantime  refrain  from  injuring. 

On  the  eighteenth  of  December  Camaspelo  of  the  camp 
between  Umatilla  and  Waiilatpu,  paid  a  visit  to  the 
bishop.  He  said  the  young  men  had  u stolen  his  word," 
and  misrepresented  him  —  that  he  had  never  consented  to 
the  massacre;  that  he  wanted  to  kill  all  his  horses  and 
leave  the  country. 

To  this  the  bishop  replied  that  there  was  a  possibility  of 
peace,  and  advised  that  the  chiefs  should  meet  and  decide 
upon  some  course  of  action  immediately,  as  delay  only 
increased  the  difficulties  of  the  situation.  Accordingly, 
on  the  twentieth,  the  Cay  use  chiefs  met  at  the  Catholic 
mission  in  grand  council,  Tauitowe  presiding.  Those  pres 
ent  were  Tiloukaikt,  Five  Crows,  and  Camaspelo,  with  a 
number  of  sub-chiefs.  The  white  men  present  were  Blan- 
chet,  Brouillet,  Rosseau,  and  Le  Claire,  all  Catholic  priests. 
Blanchet  opened  the  discussion  by  placing  before  the 
Cayuses  the  propositions  of  the  Nez  Perces,  namely,  that 
the  Americans  should  not  come  to  make  war;  that  they 
should  send  up  two  or  three  great  men  to  make  a  treaty  of 
peace;  that  on  the  arrival  of  the  commissioners  the  cap 
tives  should  be  released;  that  no  offense  should  be  offered 
to  Americans  before  learning  what  answer  would  be  re 
turned  to  these  propositions. 

Camaspelo  spoke  first  in  approval.  Tiloukaikt  then  re 
viewed  the  history  of  the  nation  from  before  the  first  com 
ing  of  the  white  people:  and  acknowledged  that  previous 
to  the  advent  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  they  had 
always  been  at  war;  that  where  Fort  Walla  Walla  now 
stood  nothing  but  blood  was  continually  seen.  But  they 
had  been  taught  by  white  people  there  was  a  God  who 
forbade  war  and  murder.  He  eulogized  Mr.  Pambrun, 
who  had  so  taught  them ;  referred  to  the  killing  of  the 
Nez  Perce  chief  who  accompanied  Mr.  Gray  east  in  1837; 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  115 

and  of  the  killing  of  Elijah  in  California  three  years  pre 
vious,  saying  the  Cayuses  had  forgotten  all  that,  and  lie 
hoped  the  Americans  would  forget  what  had  occurred  at 

Five  Crows  suggested  some  additions  to  the  propositions 
already  offered.  Tauitowe  said  but  little,  excusing  him 
self  by  declaring  that  he  was  sick  and  not  able  to  talk,  but 
favored  the  proposals.  Edward  Tiloukaikt  arose,  and  dis 
played  a  "Catholic  Ladder"  stained  with  blood,  and  re 
peated  what  he  asserted  Dr.  Whitman  had  said  a  short  time 
before  his  death:  "You  see  this  blood!  it  is  to  show  you 
that  now  because  you  have  the  priests  among  you,  the 
country  is  going  to  be  covered  with  blood.  You  will  have 
nothing  now  but  blood!"  He  then  related  the  recent 
events  at  Waiilatpu  in  the  most  detailed  and  minute  man 
ner,  describing  the  sorrow  of  the  bereaved  families  in 
touching  language,  even  of  a  single  member  of  one  family 
left  to  weep  alone  over  all  the  rest  who  had  perished.  He 
repeated  the  story  carried  by  Joe  Lewis  to  the  Indians,  that 
Dr.  Whitman  was  poisoning  them.  Nothing  was  avoided 
or  left  out,  except  the  names  of  the  murderers;  of  these  he 
made  no  mention. 

After  some  time  spent  in  deliberation,  a  manifesto  was 
agreed  upon  and  dictated  to  the  bishop,  as  follows: — 

The  principal  chiefs  of  the  Cayuses  in  council  assembled  state : 
That  a  young  Indian  who  understands  English,  and  who  slept  in 
Dr.  Whitman's  room,  heard  the  doctor,  his  wife,  and  Mr.  Spalding 
express  their  desire  of  possessing  the  lands  and  animals  of  the  In 
dians  ;  that  he  stated  also  that  Mr.  Spalding  said  to  the  doctor : 
"Hurry  giving  medicines  to  the  Indians  that  they  may  soon  die ;" 
that  the  same  Indian  told  the  Cayuses,  "  If  you  do  not  kill  the  doctor 
soon,  you  will  all  be  dead  before  spring;"  that  they  buried  six 
Cayuses  on  Sunday,  November  twenty-eighth,  and  three  the  next 
day ;  that  the  schoolmaster,  Mr.  Rogers,  stated  to  them  before 
he  died,  that  the  doctor,  his  wife,  and  Mr.  Spalding  poisoned  the 
Indians ;  that  for  several  years  past  they  had  to  deplore  the  death 
of  their  children;  and  that  according  to  these  reports,  they  were  led 
to  believe  that  the  whites  had  undertaken  to  kill  them  all ;  and 
that  these  were  the  motives  which  led  them  to  kill  the  Americans. 

The  same  chiefs  ask  at  present : 


First.     That  the  Americans  may  not  go  to  war  with  the  Cay  uses. 

Second.  That  they  may  forget  the  lately  committed  murders,  as 
the  Cayuses  will  forget  the  murder  of  the  son  of  the  great  chief  of 
the  Walla  Wallas,  committed  in  California. 

Third.  That  two  or  three  great  men  may  come  up  to  conclude 

Fourth.  That  as  soon  as  these  great  men  have  arrived  and  con 
cluded  peace,  they  may  take  with  them  all  the  women  and  children. 

Fifth.  They  give  assurance  that  they  will  not  harm  the  Ameri 
cans  before  the  arrival  of  these  two  or  three  great  men. 

Sixth.  They  ask  that  Americans  may  not  travel  any  more 
through  their  country,  as  their  young  men  might  do  them  harm. 

Place  of  Tauitowe,  Youmatilla,  twentieth  December,  1847. 



To  this  document  the  bishop  added  a  letter  to  Governor 
Abernethy,  concluding  as  follows :  "  It  is  sufficient  to  state 
that  all  these  speeches  went  to  show,  that  since  they  had 
been  instructed  by  the  whites  they  abhorred  war,  and  that 
the  tragedy  of  the  twenty-ninth  had  occurred  from  an 
anxious  desire  of  self-preservation,  and  that  it  was  the 
reports  made  against  the  doctor  and  others  which  led 
them  to  commit  this  act.  They  desire  to  have  the  past 
forgotten,  and  to  live  in  peace  as  before.  Your  excellency 
has  to  judge  of  the  value  of  the  documents  which  I  have 
been  requested  to  forward  to  you.  "Nevertheless,  without 
having  the  least  intention  to  influence  one  way  or  the 
other,  I  feel  myself  obliged  to  tell  you  that  by  going  to 
war  with  the  Cayuses,  you  will  likely  have  all  the  Indians 
of  this  country  against  you.  Would  it  be  for  the  interest 
of  a  young  colony  to  expose  herself?  That  you  will  have 
to  decide  with  your  council." 

The  council  of  the  Cayuses  at  the  bishop's  house  was 
hardly  over,  when  a  courier  arrived  from  Fort  Walla 
Walla,  notifying  the  Cayuses  that  Mr.  Peter  Skeen  Ogden 
of  Fort  Vancouver  was  at  that  place  and  desired  to  see 
them  without  delay.  A  letter  to  the  bishop  was  also 

THE   CAYU8E  WAR.  117 

received  requesting  his  presence,  but  he  being  unable  to 
attend,  Mr.  Brouillet  went  in  his  place,  to  give  an  account 
of  what  had  passed  at  the  council  held  at  his  mission; 
this  being,  as  he  informs  us,  the  first  time  any  of  the 
fathers  had  ventured  away  from  Tauitowe's  camp  since 
his  return  from  Waiilatpu  after  the  burial  of  the  victims. 
The  Indians  could  not  be  brought  together  before  tl^ie 
twenty-third,  by  which  time  the  bishop  also  was  present. 

Of  how  Mr.  Ogden  came  to  take  the  important  step  he 
did,  the  explanation  will  be  given  in  the  chapter  which 
follows.  That  his  doing  so  was  as  wise  as  it  was  brave, 
every  historian  must  acknowledge.  But  to  close  this  act 
in  the  drama  enacted  in  the  Walla  Walla  valley,  we  con 
tinue  the  narrative  of  what  followed  Ogden's  arrival. 

From  the  moment  of  his  arrival  on  the  evening  of  the 
nineteenth  until  the  morning  of  the  twenty-third,  no  time 
was  lost,  but  every  particle  of  information  was  gathered 
up  which  would  enable  him  to  deal  with  the  Cayuses,  and 
also  the  Nez  Perces.  The  Cayuse  chiefs  present  were 
Tauitowe  and  Tiloukaikt,  with  about  a  dozen  young  men. 
Mr.  Ogden  addressed  them  fearlessly  and  truthfully,  yet 
with  that  tact  in  keeping  the  advantage  which  is  necessary 
in  dealing  with  undeveloped  minds.  Speaking  of  the 
Hudson's  bay  people,  "We  have  been  among  you  for 
thirty  years,"  said  Ogden,  "without  the  shedding  of  blood; 
we  are  traders,  and  of  a  different  nation  from  the  Ameri 
cans;  but  recollect,  we  supply  you  with  ammunition,  not 
to  kill  Americans,  who  are  of  the  same  color,  speak  the 
same  language,  and  worship  the  same  God  as  ourselves, 
and  whose  cruel  fate  causes  our  hearts  to  bleed.  Why  do 
we  make  you  chiefs,  if  you  cannot  control  your  young 
inen?  Besides  this  wholesale  butchery,  you  have  robbed 
the  Americans  passing  through  your  country,  and  have 
insulted  their  women.  If  you  allow  your  young  men  to 
govern  you,  I  say  you  are  not  men  or  chiefs,  but  hermaph 
rodites  who  do  not  deserve  the  name.  Your  hot-headed 
young  men  plume  themselves  on  their  bravery;  but  let 


them  not  deceive  themselves.  If  the  Americans  begin 
war  they  will  have  cause  to  repent  their  rashness;  for  the 
war  will  not  end  until  every  man  of  you  is  cut  off  from 
the  face  of  the  earth?  I  am  aware  that  man}r  of  your 
people  have  died;  but  so  have  others.  It  was  not  Dr. 
Whitman  who  poisoned  them;  but  God  who  has  com 
manded  that  they  should  die.  You  have  the  opportunity 
to  make  some  reparation.  I  give  you  only  advice,  and 
promise  you  nothing  should  war  be  declared  against  you. 
The  company  have  nothing  to  do  with  your  quarrel.  If 
you  wish  it,  on  my  return  I  will  see  what  can  be  done  for 
you ;  but  I  do  not  promise  to  prevent  war.  Deliver  me 
the  prisoners  to  return  to  their  friends,  and  I  will  pay  you 
a  ransom ;  that  is  all." 

The  people  then  in  Oregon,  it  should  seem,  could  never 
be  too  grateful  to  Mr.  Ogden  for  this  happily  worded 
speech,  which  left  them  free  to  act  as  they  should  deem 
wise,  which  compelled  the  Cayuses  to  yield  to  the  Hud 
son's  Bay  Company  or  lose  their  regard,  and  which  left 
the  company  in  its  former  position  of  neutrality.  It  was 
this  avowal  of  neutrality  nevertheless  which  was  an  offense 
to  many  Americans.  Yet  how  else  could  the  company  be 
of  service?  If  they  were  one  with  the  Americans  in  this 
quarrel,  they  could  not  offer  blankets,  but  the  sword.  If 
they  avowed  hostility,  the  captives  would  be  the  sacrifice. 

The  chiefs,  'although  they  must  have  seen  they  were 
caught  as  in  a  trap,  yielded.  Tauitowe  made  it  appear 
that  he  did  so  out  of  consideration  for  the  compaii}-,  who 
were  his  brothers  because  some  of  the  Indian  women  were 
wives  to  some  of  the  company's  people. 

Tiloukaikt  also  recognized  this  claim,  but  he  had  mere 
personal  motives.  "Chief!"  said  he,  "your  words  are 
weighty,  your  hairs  are  gray.  We  have  known  you  a 
long  time.  You  have  had  an  unpleasant  journey  to  this 
place.  I  cannot  therefore  keep  the  families  back.  I  make 
them  over  to  you,  which  I  would  not  do  to  another  younger 
than  vourself." 

THE   GAYUSE  WAll.  119 

Peu-peu-mox  mox  declined  to  say  anything,  except  that 
he  found  the  Americans  changeable,  but  approved  of  giv 
ing  up  the  captives.  It  has  been  told  upon  as  good  au 
thority  as  Dr.  W.  F.  Tolmie  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company, 
that  when  a  messeuger  from  Waiilatpu  brought  the  news 
of  the  massacre  to  the  chief  of  the  Walla  Wallas,  he  was 
asked  what  part  he  had  taken  in  the  bloody  business,  and 
having  answered  that  he  had  killed  certain  persons,  Peu- 
peu-mox-mox  had  ordered  him  hanged  to  the  nearest  tree. 

This  anecdote  would  seem  to  receive  confirmation  from  a 
postscript  to  a  letter  written  by  Mr.  McBean  of  Fort  Walla 
Walla,  on  the  day  after  the  massacre,  in  which  he  says  he 
has  "just  learned  that  the  Cayuses  are  to  be  here  tomor 
row  to  kill  Serpent  Jaune,17  the  Walla  Walla  chief."  An 
other  anecdote  told  by  J.  L.  Parrish,  concerning  Peu-peu- 
mox-mox,  relates  that  when  the  Cayuses  proposed  going 
to  war,  he  warned  them  not  to  judge  the  Americans'  fight 
ing  qualities  by  what  they  had  seen  of  the  immigrants, 
for  he  had  witnessed  their  fighting  in  California,  where 
every  American  was  a  man;  from  all  of  which  it  appears 
that  this  chief  at  least,  was  not  implicated  in  the  killing 
of  the  Americans  in  the  Cayuse  country.  Whatever  he 
thought  about  the  instability  of  the  white  people,  he  had 
learned  to  fear  them.  His  own  instability  he  displayed  at 
a  later  period. 

The  ransom  offered  the  Cayuses  was  fifty-three  point 
blankets,  fifty  shirts,  ten  guns,  ten  fathoms  of  tobacco,  ten 
handkerchiefs,  and  one  hundred  balls  and  powder.  The 
Nez  Perce  chiefs  who  had  not  yet  returned  home  from  the 
council  on  the  Umatilla,  promised  to  release  Mr.  Spalding 
and  the  Americans  with  him  for  twelve  blankets,  twelve 
shirts,  twelve  handkerchiefs,  five  fathoms  of  tobacco,  two 
guns,  two  hundred  balls  and  powder,  and  some  knives.18 

Ogden  wrote  to  Mr.  Spalding,  by  the  returning  chiefs, 

17  Serpent  Jaune,  or  Yellow  Serpent,  was  the  French  name  for  Peu-peu-mox-mox. 

18  This  is  the  amount,  stated  by  Brouillet,  who  was  present.    The  Oregon  Spectator 
of  January  twentieth  makes  it  double  that  amount  of  ammunition,  with   twelve 
niuts  and  thirty-seven  pounds  of  tobacco. 


that  no  time  should  be  lost  in  getting  to  Walla  Walla,  and 
to  come  without  giving  any  promises  to  the  Indians,  not 
aware  that  Spalding  had  already  given  his  word  to  pre 
vent  the  Americans  from  coming  to  avenge  the  murders. 
Spalding  replied  to  Ogden  that  he  should  hasten  to  join 
him,  and  all  the  more,  that  the  chiefs  had  assured  him 
that  the  Cayuses  would  kill  all  should  they  hear  that  the 
Americans  were  coming  with  hostile  design.  A  letter  was 
also  sent  express  to  the  missionaries  at  Chemakane  in 
which  Mr.  Ogden  declared  his  great  fear  lest  something 
should  miscarry, —  an  anxiety  which  had  prevented  him 
from  sleeping  for  two  nights, —  and  outlining  the  policy  he 
should  pursue,  which  would  be  one  to  do  nothing  which 
might  in  any  way  embarrass  the  government  of  the  United 
States  in  dealing  with  the  murderers. 

The  anxiety  expressed  in  this  letter  was  occasioned  by 
a  rumor  which  reached  the  Indians  immediately  after  the 
arrival  of  the  Waiilatpu  captives  at  Fort  Walla  Walla  — 
December  twenty-ninth  —  that  a  company  of  riflemen  had 
arrived  at  The  Dalles  on  their  way  to  the  Cayuse  country. 
Should  this  rumor  be  believed  it  would  be  almost  certain 
to  cause  Mr.  Spalding's  party  to  be  cut  off,  and  might  make 
the  escape  of  those  already  with  him  impossible.  No  con 
firmation,  however,  was  received  before  Mr.  Spalding  ar 
rived,  who  reached  the  fort  January  first,  escorted  by  a 
large  party  of  Nez  Perces,  greatly  to  the  relief  of  all  con 

At  noon  on  the  second,  the  boats,  with  their  fifty -seven 
ransomed  men,  women,  and  children,  with  other  passengers 
arid  provisions  for  the  journey,19  put  off  from  the  beach  at 
Walla  Walla  fort,  eager  and  thankful  to  see  the  last  of  it. 
Nor  were  they  any  too  soon,  for  a  few  hours  thereafter  fifty 
armed  Cayuses  rode  up  to  the  fort  to  demand  Mr.  Spalding 
to  be  given  up  to  be  killed,  as  they  had  reliable  news  of 
American  soldiers  en  route  to  their  country. 

"'Seven  oxen  and  sixteen  bags  of  coarse  Hour  were  purchased  from  Tilonkaikt  to 

feed  the  people  :     Oregon  Spectator,  January  20,  1848. 


No  account,  at  all  intelligible  has  ever  been  written  of 
the  month  of  captivity  at  Waiilatpu.  All  that  has  been 
given  to  the  world  has  been  of  a  character  to  sadden  the 
heart  for  the  violence  of  the  passions  exhibited,  both  then 
and  thereafter,  in  the  effort  of  the  sufferers  by  these  calam 
ities  to  make  some  one  responsible  for  them.  In  weighing 
the  value  of  such  evidence  as  wo  have,  it  should  be  re 
membered  that  the  Indians  steadfastly  gave  one  principal 
reason  for  their  crime,  although  afterwards  in  excusing 
themselves,  they  dragged  in  the  loss  of  two  young  chiefs, 
one  a  Nez  Perces,  and  one  a  Walla  Walla.  The  principal 
motive  was  a  sufficient  one,  as  the  student  of  Indian  char 
acter  and  customs  must  admit. 

But  the  immigrants  stopping  at  Waiilatpu  could  not 
have  known  how  to  weigh  such  evidence.  They  had,  per 
haps,  been  led  to  believe  from  Dr.  Whitman's  remarks  in 
their  hearing,  that  he  feared  the  influence  of  Catholic  mis 
sionaries,  but  had  not  learned  all  his  reasons  for  disquietude. 
That  the  doctor's  personal  antagonism  to  the  Catholics 
has  been  somewhat  exaggerated,  seems  to  be  shown  by 
several  facts,  but  he  did  fear  the  effect  of  anything  which 
could  cause  contention  among  the  Indians,  involving  their 
teachers.  It  has  been  doubted  that  he  gave  Edward  Tilou- 
kaikt  the  "  Catholic  Ladder  "  stained  with  blood ;  but  that  is 
not  improbable.  He  has  simply  been  misunderstood  or  mis 
represented.  He  probably  meant,  not  to  foreshadow  his  own 
death,  or  the  extermination  of  Americans,  but  to  impress 
upon  Edward  the  thought  that  to  introduce  religious  con 
troversy  among  his  people  would  be  to  afford  cause  for  war. 
It  had  been  so  in  nations  called  enlightened  —  how  much 
more  to  be  apprehended  among  savages.  But  Tiloukaikt, 
a  savage,  was  shrewd  enough  to  make  use  of  that  very  in 
dication  of  distrust  to  set  up  sectarian  differences  between 
white  people.  Naturally,  the  priests,  who  had  honestly 
tried  to  do  some  good  and  alleviate  so  much  evil,  resented 
the  slurs  cast  upon  them  by  those  whom  they  had  served, 
and  honce,  much  bitter  controversy. 


It  is  recorded  in  the  sworn  statements  of  some  of  the 
captives,  after  their  arrival  in  the  Wallamet  valley,  that 
they  had  said  from  the  first, "  The  Catholics  are  at  the  bottom 
of  it."  Yet  why  should  they  think  that  the  Catholics  were 
responsible?  They  had  been  but  a  short  time  in  the  coun 
try,  and  did  not  have  an  intelligent  view  of  the  situation 
of  affairs — if  the}7  had  understood  them,  they  would  not 
have  remained.  The  priests  had  been  in  the  country  even 
a  less  time,  and  few,  if  any,  of  the  immigrants  had  seen 
them.  Miss  Bewley,  who  was  an  inmate  of  the  doctor's 
family,  when  questioned,  under  oath,  whether  she  ever 
heard  Dr.  Whitman  express  any  fears  concerning  the 
Catholics,  replied:  "Only  once;  the  doctor  said  at  table, 
'Now  I  shall  have  trouble;  these  priests  are  coming.'  Mrs. 
Whitman  asked :  'Have  the  Indians  let  them  have  land?' 
He  said:  'I  think  they  have.'  Mrs.  Whitman  said:  'It's 
a  wonder  they  do  not  come  and  kill  ns.'  This  land  was 
out  of  sight  of  the  doctor's  as  you  come  this  way  (west  of 
the  station).  When  the  Frenchman  was  talking  at  Uma- 
tilla  of  going  to  build  a  house  there,  he  said  it  was  a 
prettier  station  than  the  doctor's." 

What  was  there  in  this  testimony  to  establish  a  criminal 
intent  on  the  part  of  the  priests?  Mrs.  Whitman,  when 
she  said -"it  is  a  wonder  they  do  riot  come  and  kill  us," 
was  not  speaking  of  the  priests,  but  of  the  Indians,  and 
knew  far  better  than  Miss  Bewley  whereof  she  spoke. 
And  this  was  all  that  the  witnesses  among  the  captives 
had  to  say  of  their  actual  knowledge  of  the  state  of  Dr. 
Whitman's  mind;  the  rest  was  surmise,  and  the  gossip  of 
idle  people  full  of  fears. 

Poor  wretches!  they  were  witnesses  to  murder  the  most 
foul ;  to  the  theft  and  destruction  of  their  property,  and  to 
personal  indignities  the  most  indecent  and  cruel.20  They 

20  Great  stress  has  been  laid  by  some  writers  upon  the  fact  that  the  Catholic 
priests  did  not  interfere  to  save  Miss  Bewley  from  the  arms  of  Five  Crows  ;  but  from 
her  own  evidence  this  chief  sought  to  rescue  her  from  indiscriminate  abuse  by 
taking  her  to  himself.  Tn  a  deposition  taken  at  Oregon  City,  February  7,  1S49,  the 
question  was  asked;  "  Did  you  have  evidence  that  it  was  necessary  for  Hezekiah 

THE   GAYUSE  WAR.  123 

had  lived  in  hell  for  a  period  long  enough  to  change  their 
conceptions  of  the  world  and  humanity,  and  they  were 
still  too  tremulous  from  injuries  to  be  able  to  have  a  steady 
judgment.  According  to  their  own  representations,  they 
were  as  suspicious  of  each  other  as  of  their  recognized 
foes,  and  conspired  to  prove  conspiracies  among  each 
other.  Like  other  lunatics  their  worst  suspicions  were 
turned  against  their  best  friends;  their  sick  brains  were 
incapable  of  comprehending  the  truth.  And,  as  often 
happens  in  complaints  of  this  nature,  the  same  phenomena 
communicated  itself,  temporarily  at  least,  to  the  whole 

Mr.  Ogden  found  at  The  Dalles,  as  the  Indians  had 
heard,  a  company  of  riflemen,  whom  Mr.  Spalding,  not 
withstanding  his  word  given  to  the  Nez  Perces,  urged  to 
hasten  up  and  surprise  the  Cayuses,  naming  only  a  few 
who  might  be  spared ;  and  this  wholesale  slaughter  was  to 
be  perpetrated  to  "  save  the  animals  of  the  mission !"  Might 
it  not  be  said  these  people  had  become  deranged? 

On  the  eighth  of  December  Mr.  Ogden  arrived  at  Van 
couver,  and  on  the  tenth  delivered  the  rescued  Americans 
into  the  hands  of  Governor  Abernethy  at  Oregon  City, 
with  Mr.  Spalding's  letter  and  the  bishop's  letter,  together 
with  the  manifesto  of  the  Cayuse  chiefs.  It  does  not  re 
quire  much  imagination  to  conceive  the  excitement  occa 
sioned  by  the  arrival  of  these  unhappy  people,  nor  the 
influence  it  had  on  the  conduct  of  the  Cayuse  war.  Half- 
crazed  widows;  young  women  who  had  suffered  such 

(Five  Crows)  to  hold  you  as  a  wife  to  save  you  from  a  general  abuse  by  the  Indians?" 
Answer:  "  I  was  overwhelmed  with  such  evidence  at  Waiilatpu,  but  saw  none  of  it 
on  the  Umatilla."  In  the  same  deposition  Miss  Bewley  says  :  "It  was  made  known 
to  us  (the  captives)  after  a  council,  that  Edward  was  to  go  to  the  big  chief  at  the 
Umatilla  and  see  what  was  to  be  done  with  us,  and  specially  with  the  young  women; 
and  after  his  return  he  immediately  commenced  the  massacre  of  the  sick  young 
men,  and  the  next  morning  announced  to  us  that  arrangements  had  been  made  for 
Hezekiah  to  come  and  take  his  choice  among  the  young  women.  *  *  *  Hezekiah 
did  not  come  for  me  himself,  but  sent  a  man  and  a  boy  for  the  young  woman  that 
was  &  member  of  Mrs.  Whitman's  family  "  ( Miss  Bewley):  Gray's  History  of  Oregon, 
500,  501. 

If  the  men  with  families  at  the  mission  could  not  interfere,  how  could  the  priests 
who  had  no  other  right  than  common  humanity  gave  them?  That  right,  Brouillet 


indignities  and  brutalities  that  they  wondered  to  find 
themselves  alive,  among.  Christian  people;  children  who 
had  lost  the  happy  innocence  of  childhood,  whom  suffer 
ing  had  made  old  before  their  time;  men  who  had  become 
craven  through  fear — an  avalanche  of  such  misery  poured 
into  the  lap  of  a  small  community,  still  struggling  with 
the  hardships  of  pioneer  settlement,  upheaved  it  from  its 
very  foundations. 

Governor  Abernethy,  eleven  days  after  the  delivery  to 
him  of  his  rescued  fellow  countrymen,  penned  the  follow 
ing  letter  to  Mr.  Ogden : — 

OREGON  CITY,  January  19,  1848. 

SIR  :  I  feel  it  a  duty  as  well  as  a  pleasure  to  tender  you  my  sin 
cere  thanks,  and  the  thanks  of  this  community,  for  your  exertions 
in  behalf  of  the  widows  and  orphans  that  were  left  in  the  hands  of 
the  Cayuse  Indians.  Their  state  was  a  deplorable  one,  subject  to 
the  caprice  of  savages,  exposed  to  their  insults,  compelled  to  labor 
for  them,  and  remaining  constantly  in  dread  lest  they  should  be 
butchered  as  their  husbands  and  fathers  had  been.  From  this  state 
I  am  fully  satisfied  we  could  not  have  rescued  them  ;  a  small  party 
of  Americans  would  have  been  looked  upon  by  them  with  contempt; 
a  larger  party  would  have  been  a  signal  for  a  general  massacre. 
Your  immediate  departure  from  Vancouver  on  the  receipt  of  the 
intelligence  from  Waiilatpu,  enabling  you  to  arrive  at  Walla  Walla 
before  the  news  of  the  American  party  having  started  from  this 
place  reached  them,  together  with  your  influence  over  the  Indians, 
accomplished  the  desirable  object  of  relieving  the  distressed.  Your 
exertions  in  behalf  of  the  prisoners  will,  no  doubt,  cause  a  feeling  of 
pleasure  to  you  throughout  life,  but  this  does  not  relieve  them  nor 
us  from  the  obligations  we  are  under  to  you.  You  have  also  laid 
the  American  government  under  obligations  to  you,  for  their  citi 
zens  were  the  subjects  of  this  massacre,  and  their  widows  and  or- 

says  they  exercised  by  advising  the  Cayuses  who  attended  the  council  at  the  bishop's 
house  to  immediately  give  up  the  girls  whom  they  had  taken.  "And  then,"  he  says, 
"  all  entreated  Five  Crows  to  give  up  the  one  he  had  taken,  but  to  no  purpose."  Up 
to  this  time  Miss  Bewley  had  been  permitted  to  remain  at  the  bishop's  house  during 
the  day  time,  but  after  Five  Crows  refusal  to  give  her  up,  Brouillet  advised  her  to 
insist  upon  being  allowed  to  remain  altogether  at  the  bishop's  house  until  definite 
news  came  from  below  ;  but  if  Five  Crows  would  not  consent  she  should  stay  with 
him  at  his  lodge.  She  came  back,  however,  and  was  received  and  comforted  as  best 
they  could  under  circumstances  so  peculiar,  and  continued  to  share  their  bachelor 
house  with  them  until  relief  caine.  The  years  that  have  elapsed  have  softened  preju- 
dices,'and  it  is  time  to  write  impartially  of  a  most  interesting  period  of  the  state's 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  125 

pbans  are  the  relieved  ones.  With  a  sincere  prayer  that  the  widow's 
God  and  the  father  of  the  fatherless  may  reward  you  for  your  kind 
ness,  I  have  the  honor  to  remain, 

Your  obedient  servant.  GEORGE  ABERNETHY, 

Governor  of  Oregon  Territory. 
To  Peter  Skeen  Ogden, 

Chief  Factor  Hudson's  Bay  Company. 

To  this  letter  Mr.  Ogden  sent  this  significant  reply:— 

FORT  VANCOUVER,  January  26,  1848. 
Mr.  George  Aberncthy,  Exq.,  Governor  of  Oregon: 

SIR  :  I  have  to  acknowledge  the  receipt  of  your  highly  Hatter- 
ing  letter  of  the  nineteenth  instant,  and  the  high  value  you  lay 
upon  my  services  in  rescuing  so  many  fellow  creatures  from  cap 
tivity,  but  the  meed  of  praise  is  not  due  to  me  alone.  I  was  the 
mere  acting  agent  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company,  for  without  its 
powerful  aid  and  influence,  nothing  could  have  been  effected,  and 
to  them  the  praise  is  due, —  and  permit  me  to  add,  should  unfor 
tunately,  which  God  avert,  our  services  be  again  required  under 
similar  circumstances,  I  trust  you  will  not  find  us  wanting  in  going 
to  their  relief. 

Believe  me,  yours  truly,  PETER  SKEEN  OGDEN. 

The  rescued  women  and  children  were  taken  care  ol  by 
the  citizens,  and  settlers  upon  farms,  many  of  the  women 
and  girls  being  soon  provided  with  homes  by  marriage. 
Such  of  their  propert}'  as  had  not  been  destroyed  wa.s 
finally  recovered,  while  all  became  absorbed  into  the 
young  commonwealth. 

The  discussion  of  the  causes  which  had  brought  about 
the  tragedy  of  Waiiiatpu  went  on  unceasingly,  to  no  other 
purpose  apparently  than  to  gratify  a  craving  for  excite 
ment.  No  one  felt  willing  to  lay  any  blame  upon  the 
victims.  The  immigrants  were  unwilling  to  admit  that 
the  catastrophe  was  caused  by  their  introduction  of  a  fatal 
disease  among  the  Indians.  The  cause  must  be  sought 
otherwheres.  Where  else  could  it- be  looked  for  except  in 
the  natural  depravity  of  barbarians,  incited,  of  course,  by 
some  influence  not  American  —  the  French  priests,  or  the 
English  fur  company,  or  both  together?  Forgetful  of  the 


services  received,  the  latter  view  was  the  one  generally 
adopted  by  the  Protestant  missionary  class,  and  which  has 
prevailed,  almost  uncontradicted,  to  the  present  time. 

There  was  one  great  cause  for  the  massacre  of  Waiilatpu 
underlying  all  others,  which  was  the  neglect  of  congress 
to  keep  faith  with  the  people  who  settled  Oregon.  For 
many  years  the  promise  had  been  held  out,  that  if  these 
people  would  go  to  Oregon  the  United  States  government 
would  protect  and  reward  them.  It  had  done  neither. 
They  were  living  on  Indian  lands  that  had  never  been 
treated  for,  and  to  which  they  had  no  title.  They  had 
not  one  government  gun  or  soldier  to  protect  two  thousand 
miles  of  road.  They  had  no  government,  except  a  com 
pact  among  themselves.  Neither  Dr.  Whitman's  threat 
nor  Dr.  White's  promises  had  been  fulfilled  to  the  Indians, 
and  they  had  no  cause  to  believe  they  ever  would  be. 
Even  without  the  provocation  of  having  lost  a  third  of 
their  tribe  by  white  men's  disease,  if  not  by  poison  crimi 
nally  administered,  as  they  believed,  the  conditions  all 
pointed  to  an  Indian  war,  for  which  the  United  States, 
and  not  the  people  of  Oregon,  should  have  been  held 





LEAVING  aside  the  causes  which  led  up  to  the  Waii- 
latpu  tragedy,  it  is  time  now  to  consider  its  consequences 
to  the  Oregon  colony. 

On  the  seventh  day  of  December,  1847,  the  provisional 
legislature  met  at  Oregon  City.  It  consisted  of  the  fol 
lowing  members: — 

From  Clackamas  county  —  Medorum  Crawford,  J.  M. 
Wair,  and  S.  S.  White. 

From  Champoeg  county  —  W.  H.  Rector,  W.  H.  Rees, 
A.  Chamberlain,  A.  Cox,  and  Robert  Newell. 

From  Polk  county  —  J.  W.  Nesmith,  and  M.  A.  Ford. 

From  Yamhill  county  —  A.  J.  Hembree,  and  L.  Rogers. 

From  Tuality  county  — R.  Wilcox,  D.  Hill,  and  J.  L. 

From  Clatsop  county  —  J.  Robinson. 

From  Lewis  county  —  S.  Plomondeau. 

No  representative  of  Vancouver  county  was  present. 

Robert  Newell  was  speaker  of  the  house. 

On  the  eighth,  Governor  Abernethy  sent  in  his  message, 
which  contained  the  refrain  already  quoted  in  a  previous 
chapter  —  saying  "  our  relations  with  the  Indians  become 
every  year  more  embarassing,"  and  that  the  robberies 
committed  by  them  should  not  be  allowed  to  pass. 

On  the  afternoon  of  the  same  day  another  communica 
tion  was  received  from  the  governor,  accompanied  by  a 



number  of  letters  from  Vancouver,  sent  by  Mr:  Douglas, 
announcing  the  news  which  he  had  just  received  of  the 
murder  of  Dr.  Whitman  and  family.  The  information 
Mr.  Douglas  imparted  was  that  contained  in  a  letter 
written  by  Mr.  McBean,  of  Fort  Walla  Walla,  a  few  hours 
after  the  arrival  at  the  fort  of  Mr.  Hall,  the  first  refugee 
who  reached  there. 

The  following  is  a  transcript  of  the  copy  of  McBean's 
letter  furnished  to  the  governor,  preserved  in  the  archives 
of  the  state : — 

FOKT  NEZ  PERCES,  30th  November,  1847. 
To  the  Board  of  Management  : 

GENTLEMEN  :  It  is  my  painful  task  to  make  you  acquainted 
with  a  horrid  massacre  which  took  place  yesterday  at  Waiilatpu, 
about  which  I  was  first  apprised  early  this  morning  by  an  Amer 
ican  who  had  escaped,  of  the  name  of  Hall,  and  who  reached  this, 
half  naked  and  covered  with  blood.  As  he  started  at  the  outset 
the  information  I  obtained  was  not  satisfactory.  He,  however, 
assured  me  that  the  doctor  and  another  man  were  killed,  but  could 
not  tell  me  the  persons  who  did  it,  and  how  it  originated. 

I  immediately  determined  on  sending  my  interpreter  and  one 
man  to  Dr.  Whitman's  to  find  out  the  truth,  and  if  possible,  to 
rescue  Mr.  Hanson's  two  sons  and  any  of  the  survivors.  It  so  hap 
pened,  that  before  the  interpreter  had  proceeded  half  way  the  two 
boys  were  met  on  their  way  hither,  escorted  by  Nicholas  Finlay,  it 
having  been  previously  settled  among  the  Indians  that  these  boys 
should  not  be  killed,  as  also  the  American  women  and  children. 
Teloquait  is  the  chief  who  recommended  this  measure. 

I  presume  you  are  well  acquainted  that  fever  and  dysentery  has 
been  raging  here,  and  in  this  vicinity,  in  consequence  of  which  a 
great  number  of  Indians  have  been  swept  away,  but  more  especially 
at  the  doctor's  place,  where  he  attended  upon  the  Indians.  About 
thirty  souls  of  the  Cayuse  tribe  died,  one  after  another,  who  eventu 
ally  believed  the  doctor  poisoned  them,  and  in  \vhich  opinion  they 
were  unfortunately  confirmed  by  one  of  the  doctor's  party.  As  far 
as  I  have  been  able  to  learn,  this  has  been  the  sole  cause  of  the 
dreadful  butchery. 

In  order  to  satisfy  any  doubt  on  that  point,  it  is  reported  that 
they  requested  the  doctor  to  administer  medicine  to  three  of  their 
friends,  two  of  whom  were  really  sick,  but  the  third  only  feigning 
illness,  and  that  the  three  were  corpses  the  next  morning.  After 
they  were  buried,  and  while  the  doctor's  men  \vere  employed 
slaughtering  an  ox,  the  Indians  came  one  by  one  to  his  house,  with 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  129 

their  arms  concealed  under  their  blankets,  and  being  all  assembled, 
commenced  firing  on  those  slaughtering  the  animal,  and  in  a  mo 
ment  the  doctor's  house  was  surrounded. 

The  doctor  and  a  young  lad,  brought  up  by  himself,  were  shot  in 
the  house.  His  lady,  Mr.  Rogers,  and  the  children  had  taken 
refuge  in  the  garret,  but  were  dragged  down  and  dispatched  (ex 
cepting  the  children  )  outside,  where  their  bodies  were  left  exposed. 
It  is  reported  that  it  was  not  their  intention  to  kill  Mr.  Rogers,  in 
consequence  of  an  avowal  to  the  following  effect,  which  he  is  said 
to  have  made,  and  which  nothing  but  a  desire  to  save  his  life  could 
have  prompted  him  to  do.  He  said:  "I  was  one  evening  lying 
down,  and  I  overheard  the  doctor  telling  Rev.  Mr.  Spalding  that  it 
was  best  you  should  be  all  poisoned  at  once  ;  but  that  the  latter  told 
him  it  was  best  to  continue  slowly  and  cautiously,  and  that  between 
this  and  spring,  not  a  soul  would  remain,  when  they  would  take 
possession  of  your  lands,  cattle,  and  horses." 

These  are  only  Indian  reports,  and  no  person  can  believe  the 
doctor  capable  of  such  an  action  without  being  as  ignorant  and 
brutal  as  the  Indians  themselves.  One  of  the  murderers,  not  being 
made  acquainted  with  the  above  understanding,  shot  Mr.  Rogers. 

It  is  well  ascertained  that  eleven  lives  were  lost,  and  three 
wounded.  It  is  also  rumored  they  are  to  make  an  attack  upon  the 
fort.  Let  them  come !  if  they  will  not  listen  to  reason.  Though  I 
have  only  five  men  at  the  establishment,  I  am  prepared  to  give 
them  a  warm  reception.  The  gates  are  closed  day  and  night,  and 
the  bastions  in  readiness. 

In  company  with  Mr.  Manson's  two  sons,  was  sent  a  young  half- 
breed  lad,  brought  up  by  Dr.  Whitman;  they  are  all  here,  and  have 
got  over  their  fright.  The  ringleaders  in  this  horrible  butchery  are 
Teloquait,  his  son,  Big  Belly,  Tamsucky,  Esticus,  Taumaulish,  etc. 
I  understand  from  the  interpreter  that  they  were  making  one 
common  grave  for  the  deceased. 

The  houses  \vere  stripped  of  everything  in  the  shape  of  property, 
but  when  they  came  to  divide  the  spoil  they  fell  out  among  them 
selves,  and  all  agreed  to  put  back  the  property.  I  am  happy  to 
state  the  Walla  Wallas  had  no  hand  in  the  whole  business;  they 
were  all  the  doctor's  own  people  (the  Cayuses).  One  American 
shot  another,  and  took  the  Indians'  part  to  save  his  own  life.1 

Allow  me  to  draw  a  veil  over  this  dreadful  affair,  which  is  too 
painful  to  dwell  upon,  and  which  I  have  explained  conformably  to 
information  received,  and  with  sympathizing  feelings. 

1  The  person  here  referred  to  was  Joe  Lewis,  a  half-caste  American.  It  is  just 
possible  that  the  Indians  compelled  him,  as  it  was  said  they  did  Mr.  Rogers,  to  make 
a  false  statement,  or  to  side  with  them;  but  the  testimony  of  the  captives  made  him 
responsible  for  the  massacre.  Mr.  McBean  was  reporting  to  his  superiors  what  he 
had  learned  from  the  only  authority  at  hand. 



I  remain,  with  much  respect,  gentlemen,  your  most  obedient 
humble  servant, 

(Signed).  WILLIAM  McBEAN. 

N.  B. —  I  have  just  heard  that  the  Cayuses  are  to  be  here  tomor 
row  to  kill  Serpent  Jaime,  the  Walla  Walla  chief. 

W.  McB. 

Names  of  those  who  were  killed  :  Dr.  Whitman,  Mrs.  Whitman, 
Mr.  Rogers,  Mr.  Hoffman,  Mr.  Sanders  (schoolmaster),  Mr.  Osborne 
(carpenter),  Mr.  Marsh,  Mr.  John  Sager,  Mr.  Francis  Sager 
(brothers,  youths),  Mr.  Canfield  (blacksmith),  Mr.  —  —  (a  tailor); 
besides  three  that  were  wounded,  more  or  less, — Messrs.  Hall,  Kim- 
ball,  and  another  man  whose  name  I  cannot  learn. 

W.  McB.' 

This  information,  only  slightly  inaccurate,  was  that 
which  was  obtained  the  day  after  the  massacre,  first  from 
Mr.  Hall,  then  from  Finlay  and  the  Manson  boys,  and 
lastly  from  McBean's  interpreter:'5  As  soon  as  practicable 
after  the  return  of  his  interpreter,  Mr.  McBean  dispatched 
an  express  to  Vancouver,  with  instructions  to  lose  no  time, 
and  to  spread  no  alarm,  his  object  being  to  get  the  news, 
not  only  of  the  massacre,  but  of  his  own  exposed  situation 
should  the  Cayuses  carry  out  their  rumored  threat  against 
his  post,  to  the  board  of  managers  before  the  tribes  along 
the  river  should  learn  what  had  taken  place,  or  form  any 
combination  with  the  Cayuses.1 

'-This  letter  of  McBean's,  as  here  given,  is  faithfully  copied  from  a  copy  made  at 
Fort  Vancouver,  appearing  to  be  in  the  hand  of  C.  B.  Roberts.  It  differs  only  slightly 
from  several  printed  copies.  It  is  preserved  in  the  Oregon  Archives  MS.,  and  num 
bered  1032. 

3  In  a  communication  to  the  Walla  Walla  Statesman  of  March  16, 1866,  Mr.  McBean 
says  :    "  When  my  messenger  arrived,  Indian  women,  armed  with  knives  and  other 
implements  of  war,  were  already  assembled  near  the  house  where  the  captives  were, 
awaiting  the  order  of  the  chief  Tiloukaikt,  who  was  present.    On  being  informed  of 
my  request  ( not  to  commit  any  more  murdeis,  and  on  being  told  '  they  had  already 
gone  too  far ' ),  he  hung  down  his  head,  and  paused,  then  with  a  wave  of  his  hand 
peremptorily  ordered  the  women  away,  who  abusing  him,  called  him  a  coward." 
This,  if  true,  would  appear  to  be  the  second  time  Tiloukaikt's  hand  had  been  stayed. 

4  This  caution,  necessary  a&  it  evidently  was  considered  by  the  prudent  officers  of 
a  company  having  a  long  acquaintance  with  Indians,  was  the  subject  of  bitter  ani 
madversion  by  those  who  saw  in  it  grounds  of  suspicion.    The  circumstances  appear 
from  the  evidence  to  have  been  these  :    Mr.  McBean's  messenger,  on  arriving  at  The 
Dalles,  desired  Mr.  Alanson  Hinman,  residing  there,  to  assist  him  in  procuring  a 
canoe  to  proceed  to  Vancouver.     "I  was  very  inquisitive,"  says  Hinman,  in  a  letter 
to  Governor  Abernethy,  "to  know  if  there  was  any  difficulty  above.    He  said  four 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  131 

A  letter  from  Mr.  Douglas  to  Governor  Abernethy  ran 

as  follows: — 

FORT  VANCOUVER,  December  7,  1847. 
George  Abernethy,  Esq.: 

SIR  :  Having  received  intelligence  last  night  by  special  express 
from  Walla  Walla  of  the  destruction  of  the  missionary  settlement 
at  Waiilatpu  by  the  Cay  use  Indians  of  that  place,  we  hasten  to 
communicate  the  particulars  of  that  dreadful  event,  one  of  the  most 
atrocious  which  darkens  the  annals  of  Indian  crime. 

Our  lamented  friend,  Dr.  Whitman,  his  amiable  and  accom 
plished  lady,  with  nine  other  persons,  have  fallen  victims  to  the 
fury  of  these  remorseless  savages,  who  appear  to  have  been  insti 
gated  to  this  appalling  crime  by  a  horrible  suspicion  which  had  taken 
possession  of  their  superstitious  minds,  in  consequence  of  the  num 
ber  of  deaths  from  dysentry  and  measles,  that  Dr.  Whitman  was 
silently  working  the  destruction  of  their  tribe  by  administering 
poisonous  drugs,  under  the  semblance  of  salutary  medicines. 

With  a  goodness  of  heart  and  benevolence  truly  his  own,  Dr. 
Whitman  has  been  laboring  incessantly  since  the  appearance  of  the 
measles  and  dysentry  among  his  Indian  converts  to  relieve  their 
sufferings  ;  and  such  has  been  the  reward  of  his  generous  labors. 

A  copy  of  McBean's  letter,  herewith  transmitted,  will  give  you 
all  the  particulars  known  to  us  of  this  indescribably  painful  event. 
Mr.  Ogden,  with  a  strong  party,  will  leave  this  place  as  soon  as 
possible  for  Walla  Walla,  to  endeavor  to  prevent  further  evil ;  and 
we  beg  to  suggest  to  you  the  propriety  of  taking  instant  measures 
for  the  protection  of  Rev.  Mr.  Spalding,  who,  for  the  sake  of  his 
family,  ought  to  abandon  the  Clearwater  mission  without  delay, 
and  retire  to  a  place  of  safety,  as  he  cannot  remain  at  that  isolated 
station  without  imminent  risk  in  the  present  excited  and  irritable 
state  of  the  Indian  population. 

I  have  the  honor  to  be,  sir,  your  most  obedient  servant, 


Frenchmen  had  died  recently,  and  he  wished  to  get  others  to  occupy  their  places." 
Mr.  Hinman,  needing  medicines  for  the  sick  Indians  in  his  vicinity,  offered  to 
accompany  him,  leaving  his  wife  and  child,  Mr.  McKiuney  and  wife,  Dr.  Saffaraus, 
and  Perrin  Whitman  at  The  Dalles.  It  was  not  until  the  messenger  was  below  the 
cascades  that  he  revealed  to  Hinman  his  errand,  and  the  particulars  of  the  tragedy 
at  Waiilatpu.  Mr.  Hinman,  naturally,  was  filled  with  anxiety  for  his  family  and 
friends,  and  very  indignant  because  the  Frenchman  had  not  disobeyed  orders  — or 
that  he  had  received  such  orders.  Yet,  as  it  proved,  this  wasjthe  very  wisest  course 
to  have  pursued  ;  for  had  the  Columbia  river  Indians  gotten  hold  of  the  matter  at 
that  time,  before  Mr.  Ogden  had  time  to  see  the  Cayuses,  he  might  not  so  easily  have 
prevailed  on  them  to  release  the  captives.  Hinman's  letter,  written  at  Vancouver, 
urges  the  governor  to  send  a  military  company  to  The  Dalles  for  his  protection  ;  and 
also  men  to  rescue  the  women  and  children.  Knowing  this,  and  not  knowing  what 
course  the  governor  would  take,  compelled  Mr.  Ogden  to  say  to  the  Indians  that  he 
could  not  promise  what  the  Americans  would  do. 


The  governor  sent  into  the  legislative  assembly  the 
above  letters,  with  the  following  message: — 

To  the  Honorable  Legislative  Assembly,  Oregon  : 

GENTLEMEN  :  It  is  my  painful  duty  to  lay  the  inclosed  commu 
nications  before  your  honorable  body.  They  will  give  you  the  par 
ticulars  of  the  horrible  massacre  committed  by  the  Cayuse  Indians 
on  the  residents  at  Waiilatpu.  This  is  one  of  the  most  distressing 
circumstances  that  has  occurred  in  our  territory,  and  one  that  calls 
for  immediate  and  prompt  action.  I  am  aware  that  to  meet  this 
case  funds  will  be  required,  and  suggest  the  propriety  of  applying 
to  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company,  and  the  merchants  of  this  place,  for 
a  loan  to  carry  out  whatever  plan  you  may  fix  upon.  I  have  no 
doubt  but  the  expense  attending  this  affair  will  be  promptly  met  by 
the  United  States  government. 

The  wives  and  children  of  the  murdered  persons,  the  Rev.  Mr. 
Spalding  and  family,  and  all  others  who  may  be  in  the  upper  coun 
try,  should  at  once  be  proffered  assistance,  and  an  escort  to  convey 
them  to  places  of  safety. 

I  have  the  honor  to  remain,  gentlemen,  your  obedient  servant, 


While  the  hearts  of  the  legislators  were  bursting  with 
pain  and  indignation  for  the  crime  they  were  called  upon 
to  mourn,  and  perhaps  to  avenge,  there  was  something 
almost  farcical  in  the  situation.  Funds!  Funds  to  prose 
cute  a  possible  war!  There  was  in  the  treasury  of  Oregon 
the  sum  of  forty-three  dollars  and  seventy-two  cents,  with 
an  outstanding  indebtedness  of  four  thousand  and  seventy- 
nine  dollars  and  seventy-four  cents.  Money!  Money  in 
deed!  Where  was  money  to  come  from  in  Oregon?  The 
governor's  first  thought  had  been  the  Hudson's  Bay  Com 
pany.  It  was  always  the  company  the  colonists  thought 
of  first  when  they  were  in  trouble.  But  there  might  be 
some  difficulty  about  a  loan  from  that  source.  Had  not 
the  board  of  London  managers  warned  the  Oregon  officers 
to  avoid  American  securities,  and  "stick  to  their  beaver 
skins?"  And  had  not  Dr.  McLoughlin  resigned  from  his 
position  as  head  of  the  company  in  Oregon  because  the 
London  board  reproved  him  for  assisting  immigrants,  and 
thereby  encouraging  the  American  occupation  of  the  coun- 


try?  And  now  there  was  an  Indian  war  impending,  with 
onty  these  gentlemen  who  had  been  ordered  to  "stick  to 
their  beaver  skins"  to  turn  to.  There  were  the  merchants 
of  Oregon  City,  to  be  sure  —  a  few  hundred  might  be  raised 
among  them.  And  there  was  the  Methodist  mission  —  the 
governor  had  not  mentioned  that — but;  well,  they  could 
try  it! 

The  first  resolution  offered  after  the  reading  of  the  doc 
uments  submitted  by  the  governor,  was  the  following,  by 
J.  W.  Nesrnith:  "That  the  governor  is  hereby  required 
to  raise  arms  and  equip  a  company  of  riflemen,  not  to 
exceed  fifty  men,  with  their  captain  and  subaltern  officers, 
and  dispatch  them  forthwith  to  occupy  the  mission  station 
at  The  Dalles  on  the  Columbia  river,  and  hold  possession 
of  the  same  until  reinforcements  can  arrive  at  that  point, 
or  other  means  be  taken  as  the  government  may  think 
advisable,"  which  resolution  was  adopted.  A  committee 
consisting  of  Nesmith,  Rees,  and  Crawford  was  appointed 
to  wait  upon  the  governor,  which  reported  the  executive's 
answer,  that  he  would  "use  his  utmost  endeavors;"  and 
the  house  immediately  adjourned  to  attend  a  public 

It  was  a  day  of  wrath  as  well  as  of  sorrow  and  appre 
hension.  It  hardly  needed  the  stirring  appeals  of  J.  W. 
Nesmith,  II.  A.  G.  Lee,  and  Samuel  K.  Barlow,  to  encour 
age  volunteering.  A  company  of  riflemen  was  enlisted  at 
once,  which  was  sworn  in,  and  officered  the  following  day.5 

"The  names  of  this  first  company  raised  for  the  defense  of  Oregon  from  Indian 
warfare  were  :  Samuel  K.  Barlow,  Daniel  P.  Barnes,  William  Beekmaii,  G.  W.  Bos- 
worth,  William  Berry,  Benjamin  Bratton,  John  Bolton,  William  M.  Carpenter,  Henry 
W.  Coe,  Stephen  dimming,  John  C.  Danford,  C.  H.  Deifeudorf,  Davia  Everest,  John 
Fleming,  John  Finuer,  John  G.  Gibson,  Jacob  Johnson,  Samuel  A.  Jackson,  James 
Kester,  John  Lassater,  H.  A.  G.  Lee,  John  Lyttle,  Henry  Levalley,  Joel  McKee,  J.  H. 
McMillan,  George  Moore,  Joseph  Magone.  Edward  Marsh,  J.  W.  Morgan,  Nathan 
Olney,  Joseph  B.  Procter,  Thomas  Purvis,  Edward  Robinson,  John  E.  Ross,  J.  S. 
Rinearson,  John  Richardson,  B.  B.  Rogers,  C.  W.  Savage,  S.  W.  Shannon,  A.  J. 
Thomas,  O.  F.  Tapper,  R.  S.  Tupper,  Isaac  Walgamoutts,  Joel  Witchey,  George 
Wesley,  George  W.  Weston.  The  officers  elected  by  the  company  were:  H.  A. 
G.  Lee,  captain ;  Joseph  Magone,  first  lieutenant :  John  E.  Ross,  second  lieutenant ; 
J.  S.  Rinearson,  orderly  sergeant;  J.  H.  McMillan,  first  duty  sergeant;  C.  W.  Savage, 
second  duty  sergeant ;  Stephen  Gumming,  third  duty  sergeant ;  William  Berry,  fourth 
duty  sergeant. 


By  noon  of  the  ninth  the  company  was  equipped  as  well 
as,  with  the  means  at  hand,  it  could  be.  Meanwhile,  the 
ladies  of  Oregon  City  had  not  been  idle,  but,  assembling 
at  the  "City  hotel,"  presented  the  company  with  a  flag, 
which  was  delivered  into  their  hands  by  Mr.  Nesmith, 
with  words  of  eloquent  meaning.  The  same  afternoon  the 
company  departed  for  Vancouver,  in  boats,  amid  great 

The  legislature  also  passed  a  bill  on  the  ninth,  author 
izing  the  governor  to  raise  *'a  regiment  of  volunteers;" 
which  on  the  tenth  was  returned  with  objections  by  the 
governor,  amended  and  finally  passed  the  same  morning, 
in  these  words:— 

Section  1.  That  the  governor  of  Oregon  territory  be  and  is 
hereby  authorized  and  required  forthwith  to  issue  his  proclamation 
to  the  people  of  said  territory  to  raise  a  regiment  of  riflemen  by 
volunteer  enlistment,  not  to  exceed  five  hundred  men,  to  be  subject 
to  the  rules  and  articles  of  war  of  the  United  States  army,  and 
whose  term  of  service  shall  expire  at  the  end  of  ten  months,  unless 
sooner  discharged  by  the  proclamation  of  the  governor. 

Section  2.  That  said  regiment  of  volunteers  shall  rendezvous  at 
Oregon  City  on  the  twenty-fifth  day  of  December,  A.  D.  1847,  and 
proceed  thence  with  all  possible  dispatch  to  the  Walla  Walla  valley 
for  the  purpose  of  punishing  the  Indians,  to  what  tribe  or  tribes 
soever  they  may  belong,  who  may  have  aided  or  abetted  in  the  mas 
sacre  of  Dr.  Marcus  Whitman  and  his  wife,  and  others  at  Waiilatpu, 
or  to  be  otherwise  employed  as  the  governor  may  direct. 

Section  3.  That  the  legislature  of  Oregon  shall  appoint  one 
colonel,  one  lieutenant-colonel,  and  one  major  to  officer  said  reg 
iment  of  volunteers  when  raised  by  the  governor  as  provided  for 
in  the  first  section  of  this  bill ;  and,  further,  that  the  legislature  also 
appoint  a  commissary-general,  whose  duty  it  shall  be  to  keep  a 
regular  account  of  the  disbursements  of  all  the  fund  placed  at  his 
disposal,  and  faithfully  perform  all  other  duties  pertaining  to  his 
office,  and  who  shall  perform  the  duties  of  quartermaster-general 
for  the  army. 

Section  4.  Said  regiment  shall  be  organized  into  companies,  to 
consist  each  of  not  more  than  one  hundred  or  less  than  fifty  men  ; 
and  each  company  shall  elect  their  own  officers,  to  wit:  One  captain, 
one  first  and  one  second  lieutenant,  one  orderly  sergeant,  and  four 
duty  sergeants. 

Section  5.  That  Jesse  Applegate,  A.  L.  Lovejoy,  and  George  L. 
Curry  be  and  are  hereby  authorized  and  empowered  to  negotiate  a 

THE   GAYUSE  WAR.  135 

loan  not  to  exceed  one  hundred  thousand  dollars  for  the  purpose  of 
carrying  out  the  provisions  of  this  act ;  and  that  said  commissioners 
be  and  are  authorized  to  pledge  the  faith  of  the  territory  for  the  pay 
ment  of  such  sum  as  may  be  negotiated  for  by  said  commissioners, 
on  the  most  practicable  terms,  payable  within  three  years  from  date 
of  said  loan,  unless  sooner  discharged  by  the  government  of  the 
United  States. 

Section  6.  Said  loan  may  be  negotiated  for  gold  and  silver,  or 
such  goods  as  may  be  necessary  for  the  use  of  the  army ;  provided, 
however,  that  the  holder  of  such  goods  be  required  to  deduct  from 
the  loan  the  value  of  the  goods  negotiated  for,  but  remaining  in  his 
hands  at  the  cessation  of  hostilities. 

No  sooner  was  this  bill  passed  than  the  loan  commis 
sioners  set  out  for  Vancouver,  accompanied  by  the  govern 
or.  The  gentlemen  at  that  place  no  doubt  anticipated  the 
visit,  and  had  a  knotty  question  to  settle.  To  do,  or  not 
to  do,  what  was  required  of  them?  To  do  it,  might  involve 
them  with  the  company  —  might  indeed  ruin  the  Oregon 
trade  with  the  Indians,  who  could  only  hunt  and  trap 
when  they  were  at  peace.  Should  they  furnish  the  means 
of  destroying  their  own  business,  and  take  the  risk  of 
being  cashiered?  Not  to  do  it,  was  to  bring  upon  them 
selves  the  suspicion  and  hatred  of  the  Americans  then  in 
the  country,  and  to  tempt  them  to  make  war  upon  the 
company,  in  which  case  the  opinion  of  the  world  would 
be  against  them,  for  weighing  beaver  skins  in  the  balance 
with  the  safety  of  a  colony  of  their  own  race.  But  was  the 
safety  of  the  colony  really  involved?  Might  not  Mr. 
Ogden  in  some  way  so  adjust  matters  that  war  could  be 
avoided,  at  least  until  the  long  expected  troops  of  the 
United  States  should  be  in  the  field?  An  informal  con 
versation  was  held  on  this  subject  immediately  after  the 
arrival  of  the  commissioners  at  Vancouver,  and  on  the 
next  day  they  addressed  the  following  letter  to  Mr. 
Douglas : — 

FORT  VANCOUVER,  O.  Ty.,  December  11,  1847. 
To  James  Douglas,  Esq.,  Chief  Factor  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Co.: 

SIR:  By  the  enclosed  documents  you  will  perceive  that  the 
undersigned  have  been  charged  by  the  legislature  of  our  provis- 


ional  government  with  the  difficult  duty  of  obtaining  the  means 
necessary  to  arm,  equip,  and  support  in  the  field  a  force  sufficient  to 
obtain  full  satisfaction  of  the  Cay  use  Indians  for  the  late  massacre 
at  Waiilatpu,  and  protect  the  white  population  of  our  common 
country  from  further  aggression. 

In  furtherance  of  this  object,  they  have  deemed  it  their  duty  to 
make  immediate  application  to  the  honorable  Hudson's  Bay  Com 
pany  for  the  requisite  assistance. 

Tho'  clothed  with  power  to  pledge  to  the  fullest  extent  the  faith 
and  means  of  the  present  government  of  Oregon,  they  do  not  consider 
this  pledge  the  only  security  to  those  who,  in  this  distressing  emer 
gency,  may  extend  to  the  people  of  this  country  the  means  of  protec 
tion  and  redress.  Without  claiming  any  special  authority  from  the 
government  of  the  United  States  to  contract  a  debt  to  be  liquidated 
by  that  power,  yet  from  all  precedents  of  like  character  in  the  history 
our  country,  the  undersigned  feel  confident  that  the  United  States 
government  will  regard  the  murder  of  the  late  Dr.  Whitman  and 
his  lady  as  a  national  wrong,  and  will  fully  justify  the  people  of 
Oregon  in  taking  active  measures  to  obtain  redress  for  that  outrage, 
and  for  their  protection  from  further  aggression. 

The  right  of  self-defense  is  tacitly  accorded  to  every  body  politic 
in  the  confederacy  to  which  we  claim  to  belong,  and  in  every  case 
similar  to  our  own,  within  our  knowledge,  the  general  government 
has  promptly  assumed  the  payment  of  all  liabilities  growing  out  of 
the  measures,  taken  by  the  constitutional  authorities,  to  protect  the 
lives  and  property  of  those  residing  within  the  limits  of  their  dis 

If  the  citizens  of  the  states  and  territories  east  of  the  Rocky 
mountains  are  justified  in  promptly  acting  in  such  emergencies, 
who  are  under  the  immediate  protection  of  the  general  government, 
there  appears  no  room  to  doubt  that  the  lawful  acts  of  the  Oregon 
government  will  receive  like  approval. 

Should  the  temporary  character  of  our  government  be  considered 
by  you  sufficient  ground  to  doubt  its  ability  to  redeem  its  pledge, 
and  reasons  growing  out  of  its  peculiar  organization  be  deemed 
sufficient  to  prevent  the  recognition  of  its  acts  by  the  government 
of  the  United  States,  we  feel  it  our  duty,  as  private  individuals,  to 
inquire  to  what  extent,  and  on  what  terms,  advances  may  be  had 
of  the  honorable  Hudson's  Bay  Company  to  meet  the  wants  of  the 
force  the  authorities  of  Oregon  deem  it  their  duty  to  send  into  the 

With  sentiments  of  the  highest  respect,  allow  us  to  subscribe 
ourselves,  your  most  obedient  servants, 

( Signed ).  JESSE  APPLEGATE, 


THE   GAYUSE  WAR,  137 

The  tone  of  this  communication,  which  argued  in  its 
own  defense,  before  it  was  questioned,  clearly  shows  that 
a  negative  answer  was  apprehended.  Applegate,  who  had 
been  made  chairman  of  the  commission  on  account,  as 
much  of  his  friendship  for  and  high  standing  with  the 
officers  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  as  his  acknowl 
edged  abilities  and  patriotism,  was  sufficiently  well  ac 
quainted  with  the  internal  conditions  of  the  company  not 
to  be  greatly  disappointed  at  receiving  the  reply  of  the 
chief  factor. 

FORT  VANCOUVER,  December  11,  1847. 
To  Jesse  Applegate,  A.  L.  Lovejoy,  and  George  L.  Curry,  Esquires: 

GENTLEMEN  :  I  have  the  honor  of  your  communication  of  this 
date,  and  have  given  an  attentive  perusal  to  the  documents  accom 
panying  it.  With  a  deep  feeling  of  the  importance  of  the  object 
which  has  procured  me  the  honor  of  your  present  visit,  and  the 
necessity  of  the  measures  contemplated  for  the  punishment  of  the 
Cay  use  Indians,  and  for  the  future  protection  of  the  country,  I  can 
on  the  present  occasion  only  repeat  the  assurance  verbally  given  in 
our  conversation  of  yesterday,  that  I  have  no  authority  to  grant 
loans  or  make  any  advances  whatsoever  on  account  of  the  Hudson's 
Bay  Company,  my  orders  on  that  point  being  so  positive  that  I  can 
not  deviate  from  them  without  assuming  a  degree  of  responsibility 
which  no  circumstances  could  justify  to  my  own  mind.  It  is,  how 
ever,  within  the  spirit  and  letter  of  my  instructions  from  the  Hudson 's 
Bay  Company,  to  exert  their  whole  power  and  influence  in  main 
taining  the  peace  of  the  country,  and  in  protecting  the  white  popu 
lation  from  Indian  outrage.  The  force  equipped  and  dispatched  at 
their  sole  expense,  to  Walla  Walla,  under  the  command  of  Mr. 
Ogden,  immediately  on  receiving  the  intelligence  of  the  disastrous 
event  at  Waiilatpu,  is  an  earnest  of  our  attention  to  the  calls  of 
humanity.  The  object  of  that  expedition  is,  with  the  blessing  of 
God,  to  prevent  further  aggression,  to  rescue  the  women  and  chil 
dren  who  survived  the  massacre  from  the  hands  of  the  Indians,  and 
to  restore  them  to  their  afflicted  friends. 

Trusting  that  these  objects  may  be  successfully  accomplished,  I 
have  the  honor,  etc., 

Chief  Factor  Hudson's  Bay  Company. 

For  this  attitude  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  the 
commissioners  were  not  unprepared,  and  had  already  re 
solved  upon  their  course  of  action.  Governor  Abernethy, 

138     .  INDIAN  WARS   OF   OREGON. 

Jesse  Applegate,  and  A.  L.  Lovejoy  became  personally 
responsible  for  such  supplies  as  were  necessary  to  furnish 
and  forward  to  The  Dalles,  the  company  of  Oregon  rifle 
men  already  on  the  way.  The  amount  of  credit  thus 
obtained  was  within  a  few  cents  of  one  thousand  dollars. 
Thus  the  commissioners  set  the  example  of  self-sacrifice 
and  devotion  to  country. 

Before  leaving  Vancouver,  Governor  Abernethy  issued 
his  first  general  -order  to  Captain  Lee,  of  the  volunteer 
company  on  its  way  to  The  Dalles,  in  language  as  fol 
lows  : — 

FORT  VANCOUVER,  llth  December,  1847. 

SIR  :  On  receipt  of  this  you  will  with  all  dispatch  proceed  with 
the  company  under  your  command  to  The  Dalles,  on  the  Columbia 
river,  and  occupy  the  mission  station  there  until  otherwise  ordered. 

As  the  Indians  in  that  neighborhood  are  friendly  to  the  whites, 
you  will  see  that  their  property  and  persons  are  not  molested,  at  the 
same  time  keeping  them  at  a  distance,  not  permitting  them  to 
crowd  into  the  camp.  If  they  have  any  business  in  the  camp,  as 
soon  as  this  business  is  disposed  of,  see  that  they  are  gently  con 
ducted  outside.  If  you  hear  of  any  property  in  the  neighborhood 
that  has  been  stolen  from  the  immigration,  endeavor  to  get  it  into 
your  charge,  keeping  an  exact  account  of  all  property  thus  obtained. 
I  remain,  sir,  yours  truly, 

Governor  of  Oregon  Territo^. 

To  Capt.  H.  A.  G.  Lee, 

First  Company,  Oregon  Riflemen. 

Returning  immediately  to  Oregon  City,  the  commission 
ers  called  a  meeting,  and  addressed  a  circular  to  the 
"merchants  and  citizens"  of  Oregon,  which  differed  from 
the  letter  to  Mr.  Douglas  only  in  the  concluding  para 
graphs,  which  were  couched  in  these  words: — 

Though  the  Indians  of  the  Columbia  have  committed  a  great 
outrage  upon  our  fellow-citizens  passing  through  their  country,  and 
residing  among  them,  and  their  punishment  for  these  murders  may, 
and  ought  to  be,  a  prime  object  with  every  citizen  of  Oregon,  yet, 
as  that  duty  more  particularly  devolves  upon  tjie  government  of 
the  United  States,  and  admits  of  delay,  we  do  not  make  this  the 
strongest  ground  upon  which  to  found  our  earnest  appeal  to  you  for 


pecuniary  assistance.  It  is  a  fact  well  known  to  every  person 
acquainted  with  Indian  character,  that,  by  passing  silently  over 
their  repeated  thefts,  robberies,  and  murders  of  our  fellow-citizens, 
they  have  been  emboldened  to  the  commission  of  the  appalling 
massacre  at  Waiilatpu.  They  call  us  "women,"  destitute  of  the 
hearts  and  courage  of  men,  and  if  we  allow  this  wholesale  murder 
to  pass  by,  as  former  aggressions,  who  can  tell  how  long  either  life 
or  property  will  be  secure  in  any  part  of  this  country,  or  at  what? 
moment  the  Willamette  will  be  the  scene  of  blood  and  carnage  ? 

The  officers  of  our  provisional  government  have  nobly  performed 
their  duty.  None  can  doubt  the  readiness  of  the  patriotic  sons  of 
the  wesi  to  offer  their  personal  services  in  defense  of  a  cause  so 
righteous.  So  it  rests  with  you,  gentlemen,  to  say  whether  our 
rights  and  our  firesides  shall  be  defended  or  not.  Hoping  that  none 
will  be  found  to  falter  in  so  high  and  so  sacred  a  duty,  we  beg  leave, 
gentlemen,  to  subscribe  ourselves  your  servants  and  fellow-citizens. 

Then  follow  the  names. 

A  letter  similar  to  the  foregoing  appeals  was  addressed 
to  Rev.  William  Roberts,  superintendent  of  the  Oregon 
mission  (Methodist).  On  the  fourteenth  of  December  tin* 
commissioners  reported  as  follows  to  the  legislature:  — 

To  the  Honorable  Legislative  Assembly  of  Oregon  Territory  : 

The  undersigned  commissioners  appointed  by  your  honorable 
body  for  the  purpose  of  negotiating  a  loan  to  carry  into  effect  the 
provisions  of  an  act  to  authorize  the  governor  to  raise  a  regiment  of 
volunteers,  etc.,  have  the  honor  to  inform  you  that,  fully  realizing 
the  heavy  responsibilities  attached  to  this  situation,  and  the  pecu 
liarly  difficult  nature  of  their  duties,  they  at  once  determined  to  act 
with  promptness  and  energy,  and  to  leave  no  honorable  effort 
untried  that  might  have  a  tendency  to  a  successful  termination  of 
this  undertaking.  They  accordingly  proceeded  to  Fort  Vancouver 
on  the  tenth  instant,  and  there  addressed  a  communication  to  James 
Douglas,  chief  factor  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company,  a  copy  of 
which  (marked  A)  will  be  found  among  the  accompanying  docu 
ments.  The  commissioners  had  anticipated  the  unfavorable  reply 
of  Mr.  Douglas,  as  agent  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company,  and  its 
only  effect  was  to  heighten  their  zeal  and  to  occasion  them  stronger 
hopes  of  a  more  satisfactory  reliance  upon  the  citizens  generally  of 
our  common  country.  However,  two  of  the  commissioners,  with 
the  governor,  became  responsible  for  the  amount  of  the  outfit  for 
the  first  regiment  of  Oregon  riflemen,  being  nine  hundred  and 
ninety-nine  dollars.  Not  at  all  disheartened  by  the  unsuccessful 


issue  of  their  mission,  the  commissioners  returned  to  this  city  on 
the  thirteenth  instant,  and  at  once  entered  into  negotiations,  the 
revelation  of  which  herewith  follows. 

It  will  be  seen,  by  document  marked  C,  the  commissioners, 
through  a  public  meeting  held  at  Oregon  City  on  the  night  of  the 
thirteenth  instant,  addressed  the  merchants  and  citizens  of  Oregon, 
at  which  meeting,  from  citizens  general^,  a  loan  of  about  one 
thousand  dollars  was  effected. 

Document  marked  D  will  show  the  correspondence  on  the  part 
of  the  commissioners  with  Rev.  Mr.  Roberts,  superintendent  of  the 
Oregon  mission.  The  negotiations  are  not  yet  concluded  entirely, 
yet  the  commissioners  feel  safe  in  reporting  a  loan  from  this  source 
of  one  thousand  dollars. 

The  commissioners  are  happy  to  state  that  they  have  succeeded 
in  negotiating  a  loan  of  one  thousand  six  hundred  dollars  from  the 
merchants  of  Oregon  City,  with,  perhaps,  a  likelihood  of  further 
advance.  The  commissioners  feel  well  assured,  from  the  interest 
manifested  by  our  fellow-citizens  in  the  matter,  and  prompt  action 
they  have  proposed  to  take  in  several  counties  in  the  territory  to 
assist  the  commissioners  in  the  successful  discharge  of  their  duties, 
that  the  government  will  ultimately  succeed  in  negotiating  an 
amount  adequate  to  the  present  emergency  of  affairs.  The  commis 
sioners  would  beg  your  honorable  body,  with  as  little  delay  as 
possible,  to  appoint  appraisers,  whose  duty  it  shall  be  to  set  a  cash 
value  upon  produce  and  other  property,  which  may  be  converted 
into  means  to  assist  the  government  in  its  present  operations. 
Therefore,  gentlemen,  as  we  believe  we  can  no  longer  be  useful  to 
our  fellow-citizens  as  a  board,  we  hope  to  be  permitted  to  resign  our 
trust  into  the  hands  of  the  proper  accounting  officers  of  this  govern 

A.  Li.  LOVEJOY. 

The  resignation  of  the  first  board  of  loan  commissioners 
was  accepted,  and  a  resolution  of  thanks  adopted  by  the  leg 
islature.  A  second  board  was  appointed  on  the  twentieth, 
consisting  of  A.  L.  Lovejoy,  Hugh  Burns,  and  W.  H.  Will- 
son,  who  remained  in  office  until  the  close  of  the  war. 

Equipping  a  regiment  for  ten  months  in  the  field,  with 
a  credit  of  less  than  five  thousand  dollars,  but  a  small  part 
of  which  was  in  cash,  was  what  the  Oregon  colonists  were 
now  committed  to.  The  loans,  excepting  the  minimum  of 
money,  were  drawn  on  wheat  ( the  currency  of  the  country ), 
provisions  of  all  kinds,  arms,  ammunition,  leather,  cloth- 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  141 

ing,  and  whatever  thing  could  be  converted  to  use  in  the 
commissary  and  quartermaster's  department.  A  system 
of  small  loans,  obtained  by  solicitors  who  gave  government 
bonds  for  what  they  received  at  prices  fixed  by  govern 
ment  appraisers,  was  the  means  next  resorted  to  by  the 
legislature  for  providing  the  sinews  of  war.  It  was  an  ex 
pensive  method,  but  unavoidable,  nor  did  the  people 
shrink  from  contributing  in  this  manner  of  their  substance 
to  support  the  army  of  defense  which  was  to  save  the  re. 
mainder  of  their  property  and  their  lives  from  destruction. 
Appraisers  were  appointed  in  every  county  and  settlement 
who  valued  every  article  obtained,  from  a  horse  to  a  pound 
of  lead,  a  bridle  or  a  trail-rope,  of  which  some  examples 
will  be  given  hereafter. 

On  the  tenth  of  December,  before  visiting  Vancouver, 
Mr.  Applegate  addressed  a  communication  to  the  legisla 
ture,  urging  the  necessity  of  immediately  dispatching  a 
messenger  to  Washington  to  acquaint  the  government  of 
the  United  States  with  the  condition  of  the  Oregon  colony, 
and  to  ask  assistance.  His  argument  was  that  such  a 
measure  would  inspire  the  capitalists  of  Oregon  to  make 
advances,  and  encourage  enlistment. 

This  letter  of  Mr.  Applegate's  has  reference  to  the  dis 
turbed  political  condition  of  the  colony,  owing  to  a  strife 
between  the  missionary  element,  which  had  hitherto  con 
trolled  affairs,  and  the  then  more  numerous  settler  popu 
lation,  each  being  desirious  of  securing  certain  objects, 
and  certain  offices,  whenever  the  federal  government 
should  see  fit  to  establish  a  territory  on  the  Pacific  coast. 
Governor  Abernethy,  the  head  of  the  mission  party,  had 
in  October,  privately  dispatched  J.  Quinn  Thornton  to 
Washington  to  look  after  the  interests  of  his  party,  which 
action,  when  it  became  known,  had  inspired  the  mass  of 
the  people,  not  adherents  of  the  missionary  faction  with  a 
rancor  not  before  felt,  and  which  influenced  the  tone  of 
the  legislature.  Aware  of  all  this,  Mr.  Applegate,  in  rec- 


oramending  the  sending  of  a  messenger  to  congress,  ad 
monished  the  legislature  to  restrict  the  bearer  of  dispatches 
to  the  federal  government  from  carrying  any  communica 
tion  whatever  other  than  those  intrusted  to  his  charge  by 
that  body,  or  official  documents  from  the  executive. 

"That  such  restriction  is  necessary," he  wrote,  "must  be 
evident  to  your  honors,  when  you  take  into  consideration 
that  in  order  to  unite  the  whole  population  of  Oregon 
with  you  in  the  vigorous  prosecution  of  this  just  war,  and 
to  encourage  capitalists  to  advance  means  to  meet  its 
immediate  expenses,  the  measures  furthering  this  object 
should  be  kept  entirely  separate  and  distinct  from  all  civil 
measures  and  partisan  feelings." 

The  same  day  Mr.  Nesmith  offered,  and  the  legislature 
adopted,  the  following  resolution :  "  Resolved,  That  in  view 
of  our  critical  situation  with  the  powerful  tribes  of  In 
dians  inhabiting  the  banks  of  the  Columbia,  and  with 
whom  we  are  actually  in  a  state  of  hostilities,  it  is  the 
duty  of  this  legislature  to  dispatch  a  special  messenger, 
as  soon  as  practicable,  to  Washington  City,  for  the  purpose 
of  securing  the  immediate  influence  and  protection  of  the 
United  States  government  in  our  internal  affairs," — a  copy 
of  which  was  furnished  to  the  loan  commissioners,  with 
what  effect  we  have  seen. 

A  day  or  two  later,  Mr.  Nesmith  introduced  a  bill  pro 
viding  for  sending  a  special  messenger  to  the  United 
States,  which  the  legislature  passed  on  the  fifteenth,  and 
one  of  their  own  number — Joseph  L.  Meek,  a  fearless  and 
talented,  if  illiterate,  mountain  man,  wras  selected  to  be  the 
bearer  of  dispatches  to  the  president  of  the  United  States 
and  a  memorial  to  congress. 

The  memorial,  prepared  by  a  committee  appointed  by 
the  legislature,  contained  these  pathetic  passages:  "Hav 
ing  called  upon  the  government  of  the  United  States  so 
often  in  vain,  we  have  almost  despaired  of  receiving  its 
protection.  *  *  We  have  the  right  to  expect  your  aid 
and  you  are  in  duty  bound  to  extend  it.  For  though  we 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  143 

are  separated  from  our  native  land  by  a  range  of  moun 
tains  whose  lofty  altitudes  are  mantled  in  eternal  snows; 
although  three  thousand  miles,  nearly  two-thirds  of  which 
is  a  howling  wild,  lie  between  us  and  the  federal  capital, 
yet  our  hearts  are  unalienated  from  the  land  of  our  birth. 
Our  love  for  the  free  and  noble  institutions  under  which 
it  was  our  fortune  to  be  born  and  nurtured,  remains  un 
abated.  In  short,  we  are  Americans  still,  residing  in  a 
country  over  which  the  government  of  the  United  States 
has  the  sole  and  acknowledged  right  of  sovereignty;  and 
under  such  circumstances  we  have  the  right  to  claim  the 
benefit  of  its  laws  and  protection." 

The  bill  providing  for  a  messenger  authorized  him  to 
proceed  with  all  dispatch,  by  way  of  California,  to  Wash 
ington  City,  and  lay  before  the  executive  of  the  United 
States  such  official  communications  as  he  should  be 
charged  with.  It  required  him  to  take  an  oath  faithfully 
to  perform  his  duties  to  the  best  of  his  ability,  but  left 
him  to  be  compensated  by  the  government  of  the  United 
States;  authorizing  him  to  borrow,  if  he  could,  on  the 
faith  of  the  Oregon  government,  five  hundred  dollars  for 
his  expenses,  and  requiring  him  to  give  bonds  in  a 
thousand  dollars  for  the  faithful  execution  of  his  trust. 

The  borrowing  of  five  hundred  dollars  for  this  purpose, 
in  addition  to  the  amounts  secured  by  the  loan  commis 
sioners,  was  a  task  nearly  as  great  as  that  of  conveying 
the  official  documents  to  their  destination,  as  may  be 
learned  from  references  to  Meek's  efforts  in  letters  found 
in  the  Oregon  archives.  It  was  a  task  requiring  time  and 
industry,  and  often  failed  to  bear  the  hoped-for  fruit. 

Meek's  credentials  from  the  governor  were  contained  in 
this  brief  letter  of  introduction:  — 

OREGON  CITY,  December  28,  1847. 
To  His  Excellency,  James  1C.  Polk,  President  of  the  United  States: 

SIR:  The  bearer,  Joseph  L.  Meek,  Esq.,  has  been  appointed  by 
the  legislature  of  Oregon  territory,  special  messenger  to  carry  dis- 


patches  to  Washington  City.  This  journey  will  be  an  arduous  one, 
and  I  would  recommend  him  to  the  favorable  notice  of  your  excel 

I  have  the  honor  to  be,  etc., 

Governor  of  Oregon. 

Meek,  like  most  of  the  men  at  this  time  in  Oregon,  was 
in  the  prime  of  life,  and  had  a  young  family  to  provide 
for.  He  could  not  start  at  once  on  a  journey  of  several 
thousand  miles,  leaving  nothing  for  them  arid  taking 
nothing  himself.  Neither  did  he  agree  with  the  governor 
as  to  the  route  best  to  be  pursued,  Abernethy  wishing  him 
to  go  to  California,  with  dispatches  for  Governor  Mason, 
and  thence  east;  but  the  experienced  mountain  man  was  a 
better  judge  of  the  business  before  him  than  the  executive, 
and  chose  to  accompany  the  volunteers  to  the  seat  of  war, 
and  to  take  the  immigrant  route,  which  he  had  been  one 
of  the  first  to  travel,  as  an  immigrant,  and  which  led 
through  a  country  with  which  he  was  familiar.  This 
decision,  owing  to  various  impediments  in  the  way  of  the 
army,  retarded  his  movements,  until  the  patience  of  the 
executive  was  exhausted,  as  we  shall  see  hereafter. 

On  the  twenty-fifth  of  December,  after  a  secret  session 
of  the  legislature  to  confer  with  the  governor,  there  was 
issued  the  following  proclamation : — 

In  consequence  of  the  low  state  of  the  finances  of  this  country, 
and  the  general  impression  being  that  the  Indians  of  the  upper 
country  were  not  united,  a  small  force  was  thought  sufficient  to 
proceed  to  Walla  Walla  to  punish  the  Cayuse  Indians,  and  a  proc 
lamation  was  issued  by  me  asking  for  one  hundred  men,  since  which 
information  has  been  received  here  which  leads  to  the  belief  that  the 
Indians  have  united,  and  the  force  ordered  out  in  that  case  being 
insufficient,  I  therefore  call  on  the  citizens  of  the  territory  to  furnish 
five  hundred  men,  and  appoint  the  following  persons  brevet  captains 
to  enroll  such  citizens  as  may  wish  to  enlist,  viz.,  Wesley  Shannon, 
John  Ford,  and  Thomas  McKay,  Champoeg  county;  John  Owens, 
Wm.  Williams,  and  John  Stewart,  Polk  county;  Philip  Thompson, 
George  Nelson,  and  Felix  Scott,  Yamhill  county;  Isaac  W.  Smith, 
and  Benjamin  Q,.  Tucker,  Tualatin  county;  James  Officer,  Clack- 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  145 

amas  county.     The  enlistments  for  six  months,  unless  sooner 
discharged  by  proclamation. 

Each  man  will  furnish  his  own  horse,  arms,  clothing,  and 
blankets.  The  companies  will  bring  all  the  ammunition,  percussion 
caps,  and  camp  equipage  they  can,  for  which  they  will  receive  a 
receipt  from  the  commissary -general.  Colonel  Cornelius  Gilliam 
will  remain  at  Oregon  City  until  the  first  companies  arrive  at  Port 
land,  when  he  will  take  command,  and  proceed  forthwith  to  Walla 
Walla.  Lieutenant-Colonel  James  Waters  will  remain  until  the 
rear  companies  arrive  at  or  near  Portland,  when  he  will  take  com 
mand  and  proceed  to  Walla  Walla. 

Companies  will  rendezvous  at  Portland,  or  opposite  Portland  on 
or  before  the  eighth  day  of  January,  1848.  Whenever  a  sufficient 
number  of  volunteers  arrive  on  the  ground  at  Portland  they  will 
organize  and  proceed  to  elect  their  officers,  viz.,  one  captain,  one 
first  lieutenant,  one  second  lieutenant,  one  orderly  sergeant,  and  four 
duty  sergeants. 

Companies  will  consist  of  eighty-five  men,  rank  and  file.  If  any 
company  should  be  formed  in  the  counties  smaller  or  larger,  they 
will  be  regulated  after  they  arrive  on  the  ground. 

As  the  commissary-general  will  not  be  able  to  furnish  a  sufficient 
quantity  of  provisions  for  the  army,  the  citizens  of  the  territory  are 
called  on  to  deliver  to  his  agents  all  the  provisions  they  can,  that 
the  operations  of  the  troops  may  not  be  impeded  for  want  of  pro 
visions.  Agents  will  be  appointed  by  him  at  Salem,  Yamhill  Ferry, 
Champoeg,  Butte,  and  Portland. 

Tn  witness  whereof,  I  have  signed  my  name  and  affixed  the  seal 
of  the  territory  at  Oregon  City,  this  twenty-fifth  day  of  December, 


Two  days  later  A.  L.  Lovejoy  was  elected  by  the  legis 
lature  to  the  office  of  adjutant-general,  and  Commissary- 
General  Palmer  was  made  also  superintendent  of  Indian 

While  Meek  was  making  haste  slowly,  in  the  matter  of 
carrying  dispatches  to  Washington,  Governor  Abernethy 
prepared  .to  execute,  or  cause  to  be  executed,  his  purpose 
of  sending  an  express  to  California. 

The  legislature  had  passed  resolutions  requiring  —  first, 

the  drafting   of  a   letter  to  the  American  consul  at  the 

Sandwich  Islands,  "representing  our  affairs,  and  imploring 

any  assistance  which  he  may  be  able  to  render" — the  com- 



mittee  consisting  of  Nesmith,  Rice,  and  Rector;  second, 
the  commander-in-chief  of  the  naval  and  land  forces  in 
California  was  "  requested  to  furnish  us  all  the  assistance 
in  his  power,  not  inconsistent  with  his  instructions,  or  his 
duty  to  his  country;"  and,  third,  that  a  copy  of  the  pre 
ceding  resolution  should  be  sent  to  the  commander-in- 
chief  in  California. 

On  the  twenty-seventh  of  January,  the  governor  for 
warded  to  Jesse  Applegate  these  documents,  with  a  letter 
instructing  him  if  he  could  not  go  on  this  mission,  to  em 
ploy  some  other  person.  The  following  is  the  governor's 

OREGON  CITY,  January  25,  1848. 

DEAR  SIR  :  As  Mr.  J.  L.  Meek  is  still  at  The  Dalles,  and  does 
not  intend  going  to  California,  Rev.  H.  H.  Spalding  proposed  ad 
vancing  a  sum  not  exceeding  five  hundred  dollars,  to  be  paid  at 
Vancouver  any  time  after  March  twentieth  next,  for  the  purpose  of 
sending  a  messenger  with  dispatches  to  California.  I  immediately 
proposed  you  as  the  man,  and  as  the  Vancouver  funds  will  just 
answer  your  purpose,  and  can  at  the  same  time  render  essential  ser 
vice  to  this  country  by  informing  the  proper  authorities  of  California 
of  our  situation,  I  see  nothing  in  the  way  to  prevent  your  immediate 
departure.  If  you  conclude  to  go,  let  me  know  how  much  you  will 
require  to  fit  out  the  mission.  If  a  government  vessel  comes  up  soon 
you  can  return  on  her. 

I  received  a  letter  from  Major  Lee  last  Sunday,  in  which  he  in 
forms  me  briefly,  he  has  had  a  skirmish  with  the  Indians  who  were 
running  off  the  cattle.  Some  of  our  men  went  to  bring  them  back, 
not  seeing  but  two  or  three  Indians  ;  but  twenty-five  of  them  were 
hidden  among  the  hills  and  rocks.  Fortunately,  more  men  were 
sent  out,  when  a  fire  was  opened  upon  them,  and  a  running  fight 
took  place.  One  of  our  party  was  wounded  in  the  leg.  It  was 
thought  some  of  the  Indians  were  killed,  as  two  horses  saddled  were 
left  on  the  field.  Soon  after  this,  our  own  men  being  out  on  an  ex 
pedition,  brought  in  about  sixty  horses,  so  this  puts  the  party  on 

Thus  you  see  the  war  is  opening,  and  the  Indians  are  uniting 
against  the  Americans.  You  cannot  set  forth  in  too  strong  a  light 
the  absolute  necessity  of  a  man-of-war  being  sent  forthwith.  We  see 
that  the  Indians  look  on  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  as  friends ;  on 
the  Americans  as  enemies;  Catholics  remain  unharmed  among  them; 
Protestants  are  murdered.  Why  that  is  so  I  cannot  say;  but  that 
it  is  so,  we  all  know.  Mr.  Spalding  says  that  the  Indians  say  that 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  147 

no  American  or  Protestant  shall  live  among  them.  They  know 
they  murdered  both  Americans  and  Protestants.  I  should  like  to 
see  you  before  you  start,  but  this  would  be  wasting  time.  This 
package  contains  letters  and  papers  for  Commodore  Shubrick  and 
Governor  Mason.  I  have  not  time  to  write  any  more,  but  hope  to 
learn  in  a  few  days  that  you  have  left,  and  I  hope  you  will  succeed 
in  inducing  a  man-of-war  to  visit  us.  Should  you  need  a  small  sum 
in  advance,  you  can  draw  on  me,  and  1  will  draw  on  Mr.  Spalding 
for  the  amount.  Remember  you  will  be  going  south  and  getting 
into  a  warmer  climate. 

I  remain  yours  truly,  GEO.  ABEBNETHY, 

Governor  of  Oregon. 
To  Jesse  Applegate. 

No  man  in  the  colony  was  more  capable  in  every  way 
of  undertaking  such  a  mission  than  Mr.  Applegate.  United 
to  physical  strength  were  the  scientific  attainments  of  a 
practical  surveyor,  the  culture  of  a  man  of  letters,  and  the 
bearing  to  make  him  respected  by  men  of  affairs.  Although 
belonging  to  the  settlers'  party  in  politics,  his  patriotism 
overtopped  all  partisan  feeling,  and  he  bent  every  energy 
to  accomplish  the  common  good.  Abernethy  could  not 
have  selected  more  wisely  a  bearer  of  dispatches  of  such 
importance.  Having  accepted  the  trust,  he  set  about  his 
preparations6  without  loss  of  time.  We  find  him  writing 
to  General  Palmer,  February  second,  "  The  party  from  the 
institute  (Salem)  with  our  blankets  have  not  arrived,  but 
we  start  in  the  morning,  blankets  or  not."  How  much  he 
had  the  country's  interest  at  heart  is  revealed  in  the  clos 
ing  paragraph  of  the  same  letter:  "I  intended  before  my 
departure  to  have  written  at  length  to  you  on  the  subject 
of  the  treaty  with  the  Indians,  but  time  presses,  and  the 
hurry  of  departure,  and  the  anxiety  I  feel  in  regard  of 
my  private  business  and  the  safety  of  my  wife  and  family, 
unfits  my  mind  for  calm  investigation.  Of  one  thing  rest 
assured,  that  I  have  the  strongest  faith  in  your  devotion  to 
the  cause  of  our  country,  your  sound  sense,  and  cool  judg 
ment;  and  whether  you  are  successful  or  not,  I,  for  one  at 

6  James  M.  Fulkerson  was  the  assistant  commissary  in  Polk  county,  who  made  the 
purchases  for  the  California  expedition.  He  received  his  appointment  through  Ap 


least,  will  consider  you  deserving  of  success."  Also,  "I 
have  written  to  Newell  on  the  subject  of  the  Indian  war. 
Perhaps  you  will  see  the  letter." 

The  expedition  consisted  of  sixteen  men,  namely,  Levi 
Scott,  captain  of  the  escort,  Jesse  Applegate,  bearer  of  dis 
patches,  James  M.  Fields,  John  Minto,  Walter  Monteith, 
Thomas  Monteith,  James  Lemon,  William  Gilliam,  George 
F.  Kibbler,  A.  E.  Robinson,  J.  M.  Scott,  William  J.  J. 
Scott,  Solomon  Tetherow,  Joseph  Waldo,  James  Campbell, 
and  E.  C.  Dice.7 

The  attempt  to  carry  an  express  to  California  in  mid 
winter,  was  a  hazardous  one  even  for  a  party  composed  of 
mountain  men,  trained  to  overcome  the  vicissitudes  of 
travel  at  all  seasons.  Scott  and  Tetherow  were  men  of  a 
large  experience,  but  the  others  were  chiefly  young  men, 
new  to  the  frontier,  and  although  brave  to  meet  dangers 
to  which  they  were  accustomed,  unfit  to  encounter  the 
terrors  of  the  wilderness  in  its  most  repellant  mood. 

There  were  at  this  date  no  settlements  south  of  Lane 
county.  The  whole  country  was  soaked  with  rains,  except 
at  an  elevation  great  enough  to  turn  the  rain  to  snow. 
The  route  to  California  lay  through  that  region  roamed 
over  by  the  Molallas,  Klamaths,  Rogue  River,  and  Shasta 
Indians,  making  it  necessary  to  stand  guard  at  night  to 
prevent  their  horses  being  stolen.  But  the  party  refused 
to  regard  themselves  as  "martyrs  to  their  country's  cause," 
and  took  enjoyment  from  spying  out  the  land  which  was 
to  flow  with  milk  and  honey  for  their  descendants  if  not 
for  themselves. 

"Around  the  evening  camp-fire,"  says  John  Minto,  "we 
listened  to  the  sage  utterances  of  our  chief,  whose  dis 
courses  on  political  and  natural  science  were  a  valued  en 
tertainment,  varying  this  with  the  songs  of  Tom  Moore, 
sung  by  Fields  and  myself,  and  echoed  in  the  hearts  of 

"Applegate  and  Minto  give  only  sixteen  names,  while  the  muster  roll  gives 
eighteen.  Minto  says  that  he  went  as  a  substitute  for  Evans ;  and  others  may  have 
failed  after  enlisting.  John  W.  Owens,  mentioned  by  Applegate,  went  with  the 
army  to  Waiilatpu,  and  there  joined  Meek's  expedition. 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  149 

all  —  for  who  has  written  songs  like  the  Irish  bard?" 
Two  weeks  were  spent  in  reaching  the  foot  of  the  Siski- 
you  range  of  mountains;  and  here  defeat  if  not  worse  was 
presented  to  them.  It  was  evident  that  the  horses  could 
not  be  taken  over  the  extraordinary  depth  of  snow  between 
Rogue  river  valley  and  Klamath  lake.  The  situation  now 
became  one  of  extreme  gravitv.  From  a  letter  addressed 
by  Mr.  Applegate  to  the  writer  of  these  pages,  the  follow 
ing  extracts  are  made,  as  an  interesting  contribution  to 
the  history  of  this  period: — 

To  give  up  the  expedition  and  return  without  further  effort  was 
not  to  be  thought  of.  Abandon  the  horses  and  outfit,  and  continue 
the  journey  on  foot  we  could  not,  for  many  of  the  party  were  un 
equal  to  so  laborious  an  undertaking  ;  arid  to  attempt  to  take  them 
with  us  would  so  delay  the  party  as  to  cause  us  all  to  starve  together, 
thereby  defeating  the  purpose  of  the  expedition.  It  was 

urged  that  half  our  number,  or  even  ten  would  be  too  small  a  party 
to  stand  guard  on  the  march,  unless  Scott  and  his  son  John  were 
with  them.  I  believe  it  possible,  with  Tetherow,  the  two  Scotts, 
and  the  two  Mouteiths,  to  run  the  gauntlet  of  the  Indians,  over 
come  the  natural  obstacles,  and  some  one  of  the  six  reach  Sutter's 
Fort ;  and  if  thereby  we  saved  Oregon  from  the  tomahawk  and 
scalping  knife  of  the  savage,  the  survivors,  if  any,  would  deserve 
well  of  their  country,  and  those  who  fell  would  die  in  the  perform 
ance  of  a  high,  holy,  and  patriotic  duty.  But  I  could  not  have 
these  chosen  companions.  When  a  division  of  the  company 

was  effected,  the  two  Scotts,  Waldo,  Campbell,  Dice,  Kibbler,  and 
( I  think )  Owens,  were  to  return  with  the  horses.  Tetherow,  .the 
two  Monteiths,  Lemon,  Minto,  Robinson,  Fields,  and  myself  were 
to  continue  on  foot.  The  only  thing  known  by  any  of  the 

party  about  snowshoes  was  that  I  had  once  seen  a  pair  used  by  the 
northern  Indians  for  going  on  loose  snow.  We  aimed  to  imitate 
these  shoes,  but  could  get  nothing  in  the  vicinity  of  our  camp  better 
than  willow  for  the  bows;  nor  for  weaving  the  meshes  than  strings 
cut  from  old  rawhide,  which  on  trial  were  found  altogether  too  weak 
to  sustain  our  weight  upon  the  snow.  Each  man  had  a  pack  of  ten 
days'  provisions  of  flour  and  bacon,  some  salt,  ammunition,  a  blanket, 
a  pair  of  extra  socks,  a  heavy  rifle  and  a  pistol,  all  of  the  weight  of 
fifty  pounds  —  the  packs  being  carried  on  our  backs.  *  *  *  At 
length  all  were  ready,  and  I  led  the  way  as  guide.  Our  route  lay  up 
Jennie  creek,  about  a  mile  north  of  the  present  road  to  the  lake 
country.  Through  all  that  long  day,  as  often  as  I  looked  behind 
me  to  see  what  progress  my  companions  were  making,  I  never  once 


saw  them  all  at  the  same  time ;  some  were  slowly  aud  painfully 
making  their  way,  others  with  only  a  head  or  leg  above  the  snow, 
and  others  entirely  hidden  under  it.  Ludicrous  as  the  accidents 
sometimes  were,  the  situation  was  far  too  serious  for  laughter  or 
even  conversation;  it  was  a  funeral  procession  where  each  mourner 
expected  himself  to  be  a  corpse. 

The  February  sun  shone  bright  through  the  day  and  softened  the 
snow  on  top  ;  but  as  night  approached  it  became  intensely  cold.  A 
clump  of  dead  aspens  furnished  us  firewood,  and  a  huge  Lambert 
pine  broke  away  a  little  of  the  keenness  of  the  wind  from  our  camp ; 
but  it  was  too  cold  to  sleep  in  our  single  blankets ;  and  around  that 
stick  fire  were  discussed  subjects  the  gravest  that  it  ever  falls  to  the 
lot  of  man  to  consider. 

The  last  to  arrive  in  camp  was  James  Fields.  He  wras  a  large, 
rather  fleshy  man,  weighing  over  two  hundred  pounds.  He  carried 
an  extra  heavy  pack  and  rifle,  so  that  his  snowshoes  had  to  sustain 
a  weight  of  about  three  hundred  pounds.  As  soon  as  the  duties  of 
the  camp  were  completed,  Mr.  Fields  addressed  the  expedition  to 
the  following  effect:  "It  is  my  painful  duty,  gentlemen,  to  an 
nounce  that  I  can  accompany  you  no  further  on  this  expedition. 
It  has  been  only  by  the  assistance  I  have  received  from  others,  and 
the  fortunate  crusting  of  the  trail  this  evening  that  I  am  able  to 
camp  with  you  tonight,  not  two  miles  from  the  place  of  starting. 
It  is  impossible  for  me  to  accomplish  the  remaining  twenty  miles 
of  snow  that  we  know  lies  before  us  on  this  mountain.  I  regret 
that  I  volunteered  upon  this  walking  expedition,  not  so  much 
because  of  the  loss  of  my  own  life,  as  that  by  overrating  my  ability 
to  perform  it  I  occupy  the  place  of  some  better  man,  where  men 
are  already  too  few.  Before  I  joined  this  expedition  in  the  Walla- 
met  valley  I  fully  understood  the  gravity  of  the  undertaking. 
Against  the  performance  of  so  great  an  object  I  weighed  my  own 
life  as  nothing ;  in  fact,  if  one  only  of  the  party  should  reach  the 
end  of  the  journey,  and  the  rest  fell  by  the  way,  the  object  of  the 
expedition  would  be  cheaply  obtained.  My  loss  will,  I  know,  in 
crease  your  dangers  and  hardships ;  but  I  yield  to  inexorable  cir 
cumstances.  I  will  get  off  the  snow  in  the  morning  while  the  trail 
is  hard,  and  take  my  chances  alone  with  famine  and  the  savages. 
I  am  not  so  pusillanimous  as  to  die  in  this  camp,  or  throw  my  life 
away  without  an  effort." 

This  speech  was  received  in  profound  silence.  No  man  ventured 
to  express  what  was  in  his  heart,  lest  he  should  be  alone.  When 
the  silence  was  broken,  Tetherow  alone  remained  firm  to  the  expe 
dition.  With  him  alone,  brave,  strong,  and  powerful  as  I  knew 
him  to  be,  I  felt  success  was  impossible.  We  should  be  not  only 
throwing  away  our  lives  uselessly  in  the  attempt,  but  the  lives  of 
the  young  men  with  us,  who  were  as  helpless  to  go  back  without  us 
as  we  to  go  forward  without  them.  A  vote  was  then  taken  on  two 


propositions  —  first,  to  leave  Mr.  Fields  to  his  fate  and  proceed, 
Fields  voting  "aye"  and  the  others  "no;"  second,  to  divide  the 
party  equally  and  go  on,  Fields  voting  "  no  "  with  the  rest,  because 
he  believed  a  division  of  the  party  would  cause  the  destruction  of 
both  parts.  *  I  shall  always  honor  Fields  as  the  most  de 

voted  and  illustrious  patriot  I  have  ever  met. 

The  party  turned  back  the  following  morning,  and  by 
forced  marches  overtook  the  mounted  division  in  a  couple 
of  days,  returning  with  them  to  their  homes,  and  all  hope 
of  land  communication  with  California  was  abandoned. 
The  only  vessel  leaving  the  Columbia  river  during  the 
winter  was  the  English  bark  Janet,  bound  to  the  Sand 
wich  Islands,  nor  was  there  any  American  vessel  in  the 
river  before  March.  The  colonists  were  left,  really  as  rhe 
torically,  to  fight  their  own  battles.  How  they  performed 
this  duty  will  be  seen  in  the  following  chapters. 





IT  is  time  now  to  turn  to  the  military  operations  of  the 
Oregon  government.  Among  the  doings  of  the  legislature 
which  referred  to  its  attitude  towards  the  Cayuses,  after 
authorizing  the  governor  to  raise  a  regiment  of  volunteers, 
was  the  election  hy  that  body  of  regimental  officers,  which 
resulted  in  making  Cornelius  Gilliam,  colonel-command 
ant;  James  Waters,  lieutenant-colonel;  H.  A  G.  Lee,  major, 
and  Joel  Palmer,  commissary-general.  On  the  same  day, 
December  fourteenth,  and  before  the  letter  of  Bishop  Blan- 
chet  had  been  written,  recommending  to  the  governor  this 
identical  course  (which  bad  first  been  suggested  by  the 
Nez  Perces),  a  resolution  was  passed  "that  a  delegation  of 
three  persons  be  appointed  by  this  house  to  proceed  imme 
diately  to  Walla  Walla,  and  hold  a  council  with  the  chiefs 
and  principal  men  of  the  various  tribes  on  the  Columbia, 
to  prevent,  if  possible,  the  coalition  with  the  Cay  use  tribe 
in  the  present  difficulties."  The  appointment  of  these  com 
missioners  was,  however,  left  to  the  governor,  who  named 
Joel  Palmer,  Robert  Newell,  and  Major  H.  A.  G.  Lee,  than 
whom  no  more  competent  men  for  this  duty  could  have 
been  selected  among  the  Americans,  and  much  was  hoped 
from  their  sagacious  handling  of  the  Indian  intelligence. 


THE   GAYUSE  WAR.  153 

It  will  be  remembered  that  the  prisoners  in  the  hands 
of  the  Cayuses  were  not  liberated  until  the  last  of  Decem 
ber,  and  did  not  arrive  until  the  tenth  of  January.  Pre 
vious  to  this  date  all  that  was  known  of  events  in  the 
upper  country  was  what  had  been  communicated  in  Mr. 
McBean's  letter  of  November  thirtieth,  and  although  the 
determination  to  punish  the  murderers  was  firmly  fixed 
in  the  public  mind,  it  was  not  thought  wise  to  make  any 
warlike  movement  to  excite  the  Columbia  river  Indians, 
but  only  to  send  one  company  to  The  Dalles  to  preserve 
the  property  of  the  mission  at  that  place,  and  prevent  the 
loss  of  immigrant  property  left  there  in  charge  of  certain 
friendly  Indians  to  await  the  opening  of  spring,  when  it 
could  be  removed  to  the  Wallaraet  valley.  The  appoint 
ing  of  peace  commissioners  was  a  measure  resorted  to  with 
the  purpose  to  disabuse  the  Indian  mind  of  any  prejudice 
against  the  Americans  which  the  Cayuses  were  supposed 
to  be  laboring  to  create;  and  also,  to  prevent  any  coalition 
between  the  Indians  east  of  the  mountains  and  those  still 
resident  in  the  Wallamet,  for  there  was  much  alarm  felt 
among  the  settlers  in  remote  sections,  who  watched  every 
movement  of  their  dusky  neighbors  with  suspicion,  and 
often  with  terror.  Many  of  the  children  of  pioneers  still 
revert  with  horror  to  nights  when  they  feared  to  go  to  sleep, 
and  when  the  father  of  the  household  kept  watch  beside 
his  arms,  not  knowing  but  their  safety  depended  on  his 
sleeplessness.  The  Indians  took  advantage  of  this  state  of 
things  to  exhibit  unusual  insolence,  and  even  to  make 
threats  and  circulate  terrifying  rumors.  The  object  of  a 
peace  commission  was  to  defeat  any  attempts  to  continue 
these  mischievous  influences  and  prevent  their  becoming 
actual  hostilities. 

The  legislature  also  passed  an  act  prohibiting  the  sale 
of  firearms  and  ammunition  to  the  Indians.  (This  act 
was  modified  by  the  legislature  of  1849  as  unjust  to  a  peo 
ple  which  lived  by  the  chase,  and  whose  sustenance  was 
being  cut  off  by  the  spoilations  of  the  superior  race.) 


There  is  nothing  more  convincingly  apparent  in  the 
conduct  of  the  early  settlers  of  Oregon  than  that  they 
were  not  wilfully  cruel  to  the  natives  If  there  were  race 
wars,  it  was  not  because  one  race  sought  to  exterminate 
the  other  from  unreasoning  hatred,  but  from  that  incom 
patibility  of  interests  which  always  exists  between  savage 
and  civilized  men.  The  iron  wheel  of  progress  never 
stops  because  the  weaker  is  being  crushed  by  it;  it  only 
presses  on,  while  the  strong  grows  stronger  by  mere  force 
of  circumstances,  and  without  obvious  intention.  Thus 
while  Americans  of  European  descent  struggled  with  and 
overcame  nearly  insurmountable  difficulties  on  the  north 
west  coast,  the  more  numerous  but  inferior  children  of 
the  soil  perished  because  of  them,  but  not  by  their  design. 
The  Indians  themselves  perceived,  in  a  blind  sort  of  way, 
the  hand  of  destiny,  and  often  prophesied  that  they  should 
all  be  dead  before  they  enjoyed  even  the  doubtful  benefits 
of  adoption  by  the  United  States  government — "and  then 
what  good  will  blankets  do  us?"  they  asked. 

The  more  intelligent  of  the  Americans  realized  that  a 
general  Indian  war  meant  to  them  infinite  horrors,  and  to 
the  Indians  ultimate  extermination,  and  that  the  best 
interests  of  both  would  be  subserved  by  peace.  The  Hud 
son's  bay  officers  had  every  motive  to  desire  peace  that 
the  Americans  had,  and  the  additional  one,  that  war 
would  destroy  the  company's  business.  They  believed 
that  the  terrible  event  which  brought  on  the  crisis  might 
have  and  should  have  been  avoided  by  the  missionaries; 
and  that  the  sacrifice  of  a  few  individual  interests  should 
not  have  weighed  against  the  welfare  or  safety  of  the 
whole  American  population  in  the  country.  The  expres 
sion,  though  carefully  guarded,  of  this  sentiment,  caused 
in  many  minds  a  feeling  of  bitter  resentment  against  the 
company,  and  coupled  with  the  company's  refusal  to 
furnish  means  to  carry  on  the  war,  led  many  of  the  un 
thinking  and  the  prejudiced  to  believe  that  the  extermi 
nation  of  the  Americans  would  have  been  agreeable  to 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  155 

the  English  corporation,  from  whom  so  many  acts  of 
neighborly  kindness  had  been  received. 

The  company  of  forty-five  men,  under  Captain  H.  A.  G. 
Lee,  had  pushed  forward  to  The  Dalles  immediately  after 
receiving  its  outfit  at  Vancouver,  in  order  to  protect  the 
property  of  the  mission  at  that  place,  and  to  keep  open  a 
line  of  communication  with  the  Walla  Walla  valley.  In 
Lee's  first  letter  to  the  governor,  he  made  complaint  that 
Mr.  Ogden,  in  passing  down  with  the  captives,  paid  for 
the  usual  services  of  the  Indians  at  that  place  with  the 
customary  few  charges  of  powder  and  ball;  but  not  to 
have  done  so  would  have  been  to  give  serious  offense,  and 
to  have  furnished  an  excuse  for  joining  the  Cay  uses 
against  all  the  white  population  in  the  country.1 

Lee  wrote  that  the  Indians  about  The  Dalles  appeared 
friendly,  and  to  have  committed  no  hostile  acts  except 
thefts  of  goods  belonging  to  the  immigrants,  which,  on 
the  advent  of  an  armed  force,  they  hastened  to  restore, 
with  professions  of  good  will. 

Siletza,  a  Des  Chutes  chief,  was,  however,  regarded  as  a 
suspect,  although  he  does  not  appear  to  have  deserved  it; 
and  Thomas,  a  Dalles  Indian,  entrusted  with  the  guardian- 

1  In  his  private  correspondence  with  Lee,  Governor  Abernethy  said  :  "  I  regret 
Mr.  Ogden's  course,  paying  powder  and  ball  to  the  Indians":  Oregon  Archives,  MS., 
85H.  That  there  was  a  disposition  to  criticise  Ogden,  on  Lee's  part  appears  from  an 
other  letter  of  the  governor,  in  which  he  remarks  :  "  Mr.  Canfield,  I  believe  it  was, 
says  yon  are  mistaken  as  to  Mr.  Ogden's  remark,  as  he  was  present.  He  says  Mr. 
Ogden  meant  our  party  of  fifty  men  would  be  insufficient.  He  made  no  remarks 
down  here  calculated  to  stop  the  enterprise,  in  my  presence":  Oregon  Archives, 
MS.,  SCO.  In  a  letter  to  Dr.  W.  F.  Tolmie,  in  charge  of  Fort  Nisqually,  Douglas  in 
structed  him  as  follows  January  eighteenth:  "The  legislature  has  passed  a  law 
prohibiting  the  sale  of  powder,  lead,  and  caps  to  all  Indians.  I  consider  it  a  danger 
ous  measure,  which  will  excite  the  Indians  more  and  more  against  the  Americans  ; 
they  will  starve  without  ammunition,  and  distress  may  drive  them  to  dangerous 
courses.  They  will  prey  upon  the  settlements  and  slaughter  cattle  when  they  can 
no  longer  hunt  the  deer.  Represent  this  to  the  Newmarket  men.  (  American  set 
tlers  at  Tumwater  on  the  south  end  of  Puget  Sound.)  It  is  oppression,  not  kindness, 
that  will  drive  the  Indians  to  acts  of  hostility.  Use  all  your  influence  to  protect  the 
Newmarket  people,  and  tell  them  to  be  kind  and  civil  to  the  Indians.  Use  your  dis 
cretion  about  the  powder  and  lead  prohibition ;  you  need  not  enforce  the  law  if  it 
endangers  the  safety  of  the  country.  The  Americans  about  this  place  are  all  ex 
claiming  against  it,  and  are  serving  out  powder  to  the  Indians  themselves,  to  protect 
their  stock.  You  ought,  in  my  opinion,  to  get  the  fort  enclosed  immediately,  and 
bastions  put  up  at  two  of  the  corners.  If  your  own  people  are  not  sufficient,  hire 
hands  to  assist  you ;  the  sooner  that  precaution  is  taken,  the  better." 


ship  of  the  immigrant  wagons  and  property  left  at  Barlow's 
gate  of  the  mountains,  was  also  considered  treacherous  by 
Dr.  Henry  Saffarans,  Indian  agent  at  The  Dalles  by  ap 
pointment  of  Governor  Abernethy,  but  without  apparent 
justification  at  this  time,  as  he  was  retained  in  service  by 
the  volunteers,  and  proved  a  useful  auxiliary.2 

But  so  shaken  was  the  confidence  of  the  white  residents 
at  The  Dalles,  in  all  Indians,  that  it  could  not  be  restored. 
Mr.  Hinman,  who  it  will  be  remembered  accompanied 
McBean's  messenger  to  Fort  Vancouver,  returned  with 
Ogden  to  The  Dalles  for  his  family,  whom  he  was  advised 
to  remove,  until  peace  was  restored,  to  the  Wallamet.  On 
their  way  down  the  river,  Saffarans,  being  behind  him, 
was  alarmed  by  seeing  a  fleet  of  canoes  approaching,  and 
Hinman  also  mistaking  Lee's  company  for  Indians,  fled 
into  the  woods.  SafFarans,  however,  subsequently  returned 
to  The  Dalles,  and  resumed  his  duties  as  agent,  finding 
the  Indians  about  his  agency,  either  through  fear  or  friend 
ship,  more  tractable  than  he  expected. 

Before  the  army,  which  was  congregating  at  Portland, 
could  move  up  the  river,'  it  was  necessary  to  establish  a 
base  of  supplies  at  the  cascades,  and  a  few  men  were  sent 
to  that  point  by  the  commissary-general  about  the  last  of 
December  to  erect  a  storehouse,  and  possibly  a  block 
house.4  The  only  structures  he  succeeded  in  erecting  were 
some  cabins  at  the  upper  landing,  and  these  with  the 
greatest  difficulty.  But  the  place  was  dignified  by  the 
name  of  Fort  Gilliam,  although  the  volunteers  more  often 
spoke  of  it  as  "The  Cabins." 

The  history  of  this  little  post  in  the  heart  of  the  great 

-  His  services  were  certified  to  by  Captain  Maxon,  in  order  that  he  might  collect 
pay.  The  certificate  is  dated  April  26,  1852. 

3  Gilliam  wrote  his  wife  he  had  a  tedious  time  in  Portland.    He  "  had  to  be  colo 
nel,  major,  adjutant,  captain,  sergeant,  and  everything  else." 

4  Says  Abernethy  in  a  letter  to  Lee,  January  first :    "  I  think,  if  there  is  any  pros 
pect  of  a  general  war  with  Indians,  of  building  a  blockhouse  at  the  cascades,  keep 
ing  a  small  force  there,  and,  if  possible,  mount  one  or  two  guns  "  :    Oregon  Archives, 
MS.  851. 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  157 

Oregon  Sierras  became  a  most  interesting  one.  It  was 
here  that  the  hardest  struggle  of  the  war  was  carried  on 
—  not  in  fighting  Indians,  but  in  keeping  the  men  in  the 
field  who  had  undertaken  to  do  the  fighting.  In  point  of 
fact,  the  commissary  department  was  charged  with  the 
principal  burden  of  the  war,  and  the  title  of  "general" 
which  Palmer  acquired  through  being  at  the  head  of  this 
department,  might  well  have  been  bestowed  upon  him  for 
his  services  in  sustaining  the  organization  of  the  army 
under  conditions  such  as  existed  in  Oregon  in  1847-48. 
Without  arms,  without  roads,  without  transportation,  other 
than  small  boats  and  pack  horses,  without  comfortable 
winter  clothing  and  with  scanty  food,  the  war  was  to  be 
carried  on  at  a  distance  of  nearly  three  hundred  miles 
from  the  settlements.  And  if  the  volunteer  soldiers  were 
called  upon  to  endure  these  hardships,  which  General 
Palmer  was  doing  his  best  to  overcome,  the  commissioned 
officers  were  no  less  embarrassed  by  the  want  of  the  most 
ordinary  appliances  of  their  rank  or  position  —  even  to 
the  want  of  a  proper  field  glass!  Says  Governor  Aber- 
nethy  in  a  letter  to  Lee,  written  January  fifth,  before  Col 
onel  Gilliam  had  started  from  the  rendezvous:  "Mr. 
McMillan  has  the  spyglass  and  papers.  He  can  tell 
you  we  are  getting  lots  of  pork,  and  some  wheat.  *  *  * 
Perhaps  we  can  get  some  small  cannon ;  I  hope  so."  Also, 
under  the  same  date:  "There  is  considerable  ammuni 
tion  in  one  of  Mr.  Whitcomb's  wagons;  but  it  would  not 
do  to  overhaul  any  wagons  out  at  the  gate  where  they  are, 
as  the  Indians  might  overhaul  after  you.  This  step  is  dis 
cretionary  with  you."5 

Lee,  meanwhile,  was  finding  out  the  temper  of  the 
Indians  above  The  Dalles.  On  the  eighth  of  January  a 

5  Oregon  Archives,  859.  Letters  from  various  persons  concerning  affairs  at  Fort  Gil 
liam,  give  graphic  accounts  of  their  condition.  There  is  among  the  papers  in  the 
Oregon  archives  a  receipt  given  by  Lieutenant-Colonel  James  Waters,  January  22, 
1848,  for  "  four  pairs  pants,  two  coats,  seven  pairs  shoes,  six  cotton  shirts,  two  flan 
nel  shirts,  one  wool  hat,  three  pairs  socks,  two  comforters,  four  camp  kettles,  twenty- 
four  tin  cups,  ten  pounds  tobacco,  fifteen  pounds  flour.''  On  the  same  paper  is  a 
memorandum  :  "  Distributed  for  the  use  of  the  army  at  Fort  Gilliam,  January  thir 
tieth,  one  pound  of  powder ;  receipted  for  at  Portland." 


party  of  them  was  discovered  gathering  up  the  stock  left 
by  the  immigrants  at  the  mission  with  the  apparent 
intention  of  driving  it  away.  A  detachment  of  seventeen 
men  was  ordered  out,  and  Lee  went  in  pursuit  of  the  rob 
bers,  when  a  running  fight  ensued  which  lasted  two  hours, 
in  which  Sergeant  William  Berry  was  wounded.  Three 
Indians  were  killed,  and  one  wounded.  The  marauders, 
twenty- three  in  number,  were  well  mounted,  while  some 
of  the  volunteers  were  on  foot.  The  advantage  thus 
given  the  Indians  enabled  them  to  drive  off  the  herd  of 
three  hundred  cattle  —  a  serious  loss  in  a  country  desti 
tute  of  provisions.  During  the  skirmish  the  Indians 
repeatedly  called  out,  "We  are  good  Cay  uses;  come  on, 
you  Americans,  and  fight  us ! " 

On  the  following  morning  a  detachment  going  out  to 
help  in  the  Des  Chutes  chief,  Siletza,  who  had  been  robbed 
for  refusing  to  join  the  thieves,  about  one-third  of  whom 
were  Cay  uses,  captured  sixty  Indian  horses,  regarded  as  a 
poor  offset  to  three  hundred  beef  cattle. 

As  this  act  of  hostility  occurred  immediately  after  Mr. 
Ogden  with  the  captives  passed  The  Dalles,  it  was  no 
doubt  undertaken  by  the  Cay  uses  in  retaliation  for  the 
apparent  violation  of  the  agreement  made  at  the  council 
in  the  Cayuse  country,  that  commissioners  should  be  sent 
up  to  treat  for  peace,  and  that  during  the  interim  no  war 
measures  should  be  adopted  by  either  side.  The  presence 
of  armed  men  at  The  Dalles,  and  the  rumors  of  more 
expected,  dissolved  the  compact,  of  which  freedom  the 
Cayuses  hastened  to  take  advantage. 

About  this  time  Colonel  Gilliam  was  enabled  to  make  a 
start  for  The  Dalles,  with  a  single  company,  several  others 
being  on  the  way  to  the  rendezvous  in  Portland.  As 
Abernethy  had  written  to  Lee,  it  was  a  task  to  get  several 
hundred  men  together,  prepared  to  be  absent  from  homes 
where  they  were  needed,  for  a  period  of  six  months. 

The  colonel  of  the  first  regiment  of  Oregon   riflemen 

THE   CAYUSE  WAE.  159 

was  a  man  in  the  prime  of  life,  of  impulsive  temper, 
brave,  headstrong,  but  conscientious.  '  An  immigrant  of 
1844,  he  was  deeply  imbued  with  the  "fifty-four-forty  or 
fight"  political  ideas  of  the  Polk  presidential  campaign, 
and  still  cherished  radical  sentiments  in  regard  to  the 
rights  of  the  English  occupants  of  the  country.6  He  was, 
in  short,  of  that  order  of  men  who  fought  and  prayed 
with  an  equal  degree  of  earnestness, —  the  Oliver  Crom  wells 
of  the  frontier  states, —  and  was  quite  capable  of  believing 
the  English  fur  company  guilty  of  cherishing  heinous 
designs  towards  the  American  colony. 

Just  when  public  feeling  was  most  sensitive,  there  had 
come  to  Oregon  City  the  captives,  with  their  wild  conjec 
tures  as  to  the  cause  of  their  fearful  wrongs.  Naturally, 
having  a  high  respect  and  regard  for  Dr.  Whitman  and 
his  calling  as  a  missionary  teacher,  and  feeling  the  deepest 
sorrow  for  his  fate  and  that  of  Mrs.  Whitman,  they  re 
called  as  "confirmation  strong  as  proof  of  holy  writ," 
every  chance  expression  of  sectarian  aversion  to,  or  sus 
picion  of  the  Catholics  which  had  been  let  fall  in  their 
hearing,  and  with  Mr.  Spalding's  assistance,  who  had 
quickly  forgotten  his  obligations  to  Rev.  Brouillet,  and 
the  suggestions  of  other  even  more  intolerant  sectarians 
in  the  Wallamet,  had  convinced,  themselves  that  religious 
bigotry  had  led  the  Catholics  to  instigate  the  crime  of  the 

One  of  the  strongest  proofs  in  their  view,  was  that  none 
of  the  Catholics  about  the  mission,  or  in  the  Cayuse  coun 
try,  were  included  in  the  slaughter;  entirely  ignoring  the 

6 Cornelius  Gilliam  was  forty-nine  years  of  age,  and  by  birth  a  North  Carolinian, 
though  he  had  removed  to  Missouri  while  still  a  child.  In  1830  he  was  commissioned 
sheriff  of  Clay  county  in  that  state.  He  served  in  the  Black  Hawk  Indian  war,  begun 
in  1832,  and  in  the  Seminole  war  in  Florida  in  1835.  In  the  campaign  of  18S7-8,  under 
General  Taylor,  he  served  as  captain  of  a  company,  and  was  captain  in  the  state 
militia  used  to  expel  the  Mormons  from  Missouri,  being  raised  to  a  colonelcy  for 
meritorious  conduct.  Soon  after  he  was  elected  to  the  legislature  from1  Andrew 
county.  In  1844  he  led  a  large  company  of  immigrants  to  Oregon.  Having  been 
ordained  to  the  work  of  the  ministry  in  the  Freewill  Baptist  denomination,  on  set 
tling  in  Polk  county,  he  organized  a  church  in  the  Gage  settlement  on  the  North 
Luckiamute,  and  officiated  as  its  minister. 


fact  that  the  war  was  against  Americans  only,  and  that, 
the  Catholics  were  not  only  foreigners,  but  French-Cana 
dians,  with  whom  the  Indians  had  no  quarrel  whatever; 
and  also  overlooking  the  fact  that  all  the  help  which  had 
come  to  them  in  their  distress,  had  been  rendered  by  these 
same  Catholic  foreigners,  whose  only  offense  was  that  they 
knew  the  Indians  well  enough  not  to  offend  them  by  too 
open  sympathy  with  their  prisoners.  To  have  provoked 
their  resentment  in  this  crisis,  would  have  only  had  the 
effect  to  bring  on  a  second  massacre,  in  which  none  would 
have  been  spared. 

Again,  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  was  denounced  as 
Catholic,  its  employes  being  French-Canadians,  and  its 
former  head,  Dr.  McLoughlin  (who  about  this  time  had 
retired  from  the  service  to  settle  among  the  Americans  at 
Oregon  City),  having  been  converted  to  Catholicism  soon 
after  the  coming  of  Blanchet  to  Oregon.  It  counted  as 
nothing  against  these  prejudices  that  Mr.  Douglas,  Mc- 
Loughlin's  successor,  Mr.  Ogden,  Mr.  McKinlay,  Mr.  Erma- 
tinger,  and  many  other  officers  and  clerks  of  the  company 
were  Protestants  —  all  were  under  condemnation. 

It  is  necessary  to  recall  this  condition  of  the  public  mind 
in  Oregon  at  this  time  in  order  to  make  clear  all  that  fol 
lowed.  It  should  at  the  same  time  be  remembered  that 
the  period  at  which  the  events  here  recorded  occurred,  was 
one  of  great  religious  feeling;  that  the  average  Christian 
of  that  day  was  pledged  in  his  own  conscience  to  be  a 
bigot;  and  that  the  sensibilities  of  the  Protestant  world 
had  been  shocked  only  a  few  years  before  by  the  burning 
of  bibles  in  New  York  City  by  Catholics.  Under  these 
circumstances  and  influences  a  large  degree  of  intolerance 
was  to  be  expected.  It  would  be  well  to  remember  at  the 
same  time  that  one  of  the  valued  qualities  of  a  strong  man 
is  to  be  a  good  hater.  In  this  respect  Colonel  Gilliam  and 
a  number  of  the  religious  men  in  the  country  were  un 
usually  strong. 

The  politics  of  the  Methodist  mission,  of  which  Gov- 

THE   GAYUSE  WAR.  161 

ernor  Abernethy  was  financial  agent,  were  decidedly  anti- 
Hudsou's  bay,  as  its  religion  was  anti-Catholic.  It  hap 
pened  then  that  when  all  the  documents  relating  to  the 
council  with  the  Nez  Perces,  and  Mr.  Spalding's  letter  to 
the  bishop  of  Walla  Walla,  in  which  he  said,  "My  object 
in  writing  is  principally  to  give  information  through  you 
to  the  Cayuses  that  it  is  our  wish  to  have  peace;  that  we 
do  not  wish  the  Americans  to  come  from  below  to  avenge 
the  wrong;  we  hope  the  Cayuses  and  Americans  will  be 
on  friendly  terms;  that  Americans  will  no  more  come  in 
their  country  unless  they  wish  it.  As  soon  as  these  men 
return,  I  hope,  if  alive,  to  send  them  to  the  governor  to 
prevent  Americans  from  coming  up  to  molest  the  Cayuses 
for  what  is  done.  *  *  *  Our  help,  under  God,  is  in 
your  hands  and  in  the  hands  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Com 
pany  " —  were  given  into  the  governor's  hands  by  Mr.  Og- 
den,  he  desired  to  suppress  those  portions  of  it  which 
revealed  the  duplicity  of  the  author,  pardonable  perhaps 
under  the  circumstances,  but  Mr.  Ogden  would  not  con 
sent,  saying  that  if  any  part  were  to  be  published  the 
whole  must  be,  in  justice  to  all  concerned. 

This  position  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  —  for  Og 
den  was  second  in  command  at  Vancouver — though  emi 
nently  just,  was  offensive  to  the  ultra  anti-British  and 
anti-Catholic  party,  and  most  of  all  to  Colonel  Gilliam, 
who  before  setting  out  for  The  Dalles,  was  said  to  have 
declared  his  intention  of  pulling  down  Fort  Vancouver 
about  the  ears  of  its  inmates. 

There  is  a  humorous  side  to  this  effervescence  of  national 
dislike,  namely,  that  many  believed  he  could  carry  out  this 
threat;  and  that  the  company  believed  that  he  would,  or 
at  least  that  he  might  attempt  it;  wherefore,  under  pre 
tense  of  being  afraid  of  the  Indians,  it  proceeded  to 
strengthen  its  walls,  and  mount  its  unused  ordnance. 

The  following  correspondence  remains  in  evidence  of 
how   near  the   provisional    government  of   Oregon  was 
brought  to  a  war  with  Great  Britain: — 


FORT  VANCOUVER,  December  31,  1847. 
To  Governor  George  Abernethy,  Esq.: 

SIR  :  A  rumor  having  been  in  circulation  for  some  days  past, 
that  it  is  General  Gilliam's  intention  to  levy  contributions  on  the 
Hudson's  Bay  Company's  property,  for  the  purpose  of  completing 
the  equipment  of  the  troops  ordered  out  in  your  late  proclamation 
for  the  intended  operations  against  the  Indians,  I  feel  it  my  duty  to 
communicate  with  you  frankly  on  the  subject,  as  it  is  most  import 
ant  in  the  present  critical  state  of  our  Indian  relations  that  there 
should  be  an  entire  absence  of  distrust,  and  that  the  most  perfect 
unanimity  should  exist  among  the  whites  of  every  class.  From  my 
personal  knowledge  of  General  Gilliam,  and  his  highly  respectable 
character,  I  should  be  the  last  person  to  believe  him  capable  of  com 
mitting  an  outrage  which  may  prove  so  disastrous  in  the  immediate 
and  remoter  consequences  to  the  peace  and  best  interests  of  this 
country  ;  at  the  same  time,  as  the  representative  of  a  powerful 
British  association,  it  becomes  my  duty  to  take  instant  measures 
for  the  protection  of  their  property,  until  I  receive  through  you  a 
distinct  disavowal  of  any  such  intention  as  herein  stated.  Difficul 
ties  of  that  nature  were  certainly  not  contemplated  by  us  when  we 
dispatched  a  large  part  of  our  effective  force  into  the  interior  for  the 
purpose  of  receiving  the  unfortunate  women  and  children,  the  sur 
vivors  of  the  massacre  at  Waiilatpu,  who  remained  in  the  hands  of 
the  Indians.  It  was  never  supposed  that  our  establishment  would 
be  exposed  to  insult  or  injury  from  American  citizens,  while  we 
were  braving  the  fury  of  the  Indians  for  their  protection. 

Such  a  proceeding  would,  in  fact,  be  so  inconsistent  with  every 
principle  of  honor  and  sound  policy,  that  I  cannot  believe  any 
attempt  of  the  kind  will  be  made  ;  but  I  trust  this  explanation  will 
satisfactorily  account  for  any  unusual  precaution  observed  in  the 
present  arrangement  of  this  establishment. 

Trusting  that  this  note  will  be  observed  at  your  earliest  conven 
ience,  I  have  the  honor  to  be  your  most  obedient  servant, 

Chief  Factor  Hudson's  Bay  Company. 

To  which  letter  Governor  Abernethy  replied : — 

OREGON  CITY,  January  3,  1848. 

SIR  :  I  received  your  favor  of  the  thirty-first  ultimo  yesterday 
evening,  and  in  answering  it  would  thank  you  for  your  frankness 
in  communicating  with  me  on  the  subject.  Having  had  conversa 
tion  with  Colonel  Gilliam  on  this  subject,  he  has  no  intention  of 
levying  contributions  on  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company's  property 
for  any  purpose  whatever.  He  will  probably  cross  the  Columbia 
river  at  the  mouth  of  the  Sandy.  I  trust  that  nothing  will  occur 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  163 

that  will  in  any  way  cause  distrust  among  the  whites  during  this 
crisis.  *  *  *  I  trust  the  disavowal  in  this  letter  will  prove  satis 
factory  to  you. 


Governor  of  Oregon  Territory. 

But  the  commander  of  the  Oregon  army  did  not  cross 
at  the  Sandy.  Starting  with  two  hundred  and  twenty 
men  he  arrived  at  Vancouver  the  same  day  in  company 
with  Commissary-General  Palmer,  where  together  they  pur 
chased,  on  their  own  credit,  eight  hundred  dollars'  worth  of 
goods  necessary  to  complete  the  outfit  of  the  companies. 
The  men  were  mounted  but  had  no  pack  horses,  and  the 
provisions  were  conveyed  in  boats,  which,  owing  to  their 
slow  movements,  delayed  the  progress  of  the  troops.  On 
arriving  at  the  cascades  a  portage  of  several  miles  was  nec 
essary  to  reach  Fort  Gilliam,and  the  ferry  there  established. 
The  wind  blowing  through  the  gorge  of  the  mountains 
made  crossing  to  the  Oregon  side  very  difficult.  A  road 
from  the  lower  to  the  upper  end  of  the  portage  being  a 
necessity  in  order  to  transport  the  cannon  and  other  heavy 
material,  .a  company  was  left  behind  to  open  it. 

Colonel  Gilliam  was  met  at  "The  Cabins"  by  a  dispatch 
from  The  Dalles  with  the  news  of  Lee's  first  skirmish  with 
the  Indians,  and  hastened  forward  as  rapidly  as  was  pos 
sible,  without  waiting  for  the  cannon,  the  commissary-gen 
eral,  or  the  other  peace  commissioners. 

The  orders  issued  to  Colonel  Gilliam,  January  29,  1848, 
were  contained  in  the  following  letter: — 

SIR  :  I  received  dispatches  from  Major  Lee,  under  date  twentieth 
instant,  in  which  he  informs  me  that  he  had  had  a  skirmish  with  a 
small  party  of  Indians.  On  receipt  of  this  you  will  select  some  of 
your  best  men  and  horses  and  scour  the  Des  Chutes  river  country, 
if  you  have  an  idea  that  Indians  hostile  to  the  whites  are  in  that 
neighborhood.  It  will  require  great  caution  on  your  part,  as  com- 
mander-in-chief  in  the  field,  to  distinguish  between  friends  and 
foes;  but  when  you  are  certain  they  are  enemies,  let  them  know  the 
Americans  are  not  women.  The  nine-pounder  has  been  forwarded 
to  the  cascades.  If  the  Indians  fort  themselves  it  will  be  of  great 


service  to  you.  You  will  make  The  Dalles  headquarters  until 
further  orders.  Companies  are  still  being  formed  throughout  the 
country,  and  will  be  forwarded  on  to  join  you  at  The  Dalles  as  they 
come  in.  Perhaps  the  hostile  Indians  may  come  down  to  meet 
you.  Give  them  liberty  to  get  close  as  you  think  they  will  venture 
before  you  commence  operations.  If  you  think  there  is  any  danger 
of  a  party  of  Indians  attacking  Fort  Gilliam  at  the  cascades,  send 
as  many  men  to  protect  it  as  you  think  will  be  necessary. 
I  remain,  sir,  you  obedient  servant, 


Governor  of  Oregon  Territory  and  Commander-in-Chief. 
Col.  C.  Gilliam, 

First  Regiment  Oregon  Riflemen,  The  Dalles. 

A  little  later  the  following  letter  and  order  were  sent: — 

DEAR  SIR  :  As  Lieutenant  Ross  leaves  this  morning,  I  send  the 
enclosed  order.  I  do  not  know  your  situation  with  regard  to  the 
Indians,  and  must  leave  the  field  at  your  discretion,  to  act  as  you 
think  most  advisable.  My  reasons  for  retaining  you  at  The  Dalles 
is  that  the  companies  now  forming  and  expected  next  week  may 
join  you;  that  the  commissioners  may  also  join  you,  and  that  you 
may  send  word  on  to  the  Indians  that  no  friendly  tribes  will  be 
attacked;  that  all  you  want  is  the  murderers,  and  a  restitution  of 
stolen  property.  If  they  will  bring  the  murderers  down  to  The 
Dalles,  and  agree  to  make  restitution  for  the  property  stolen  and 
destroyed,  let  them  know  that  our  operations  will  cease,  provided 
they,  the  chiefs,  enter  into  a  treaty  to  protect  American  citizens 
passing  through  their  country.  This,  in  substance,  you  might  say 
to  the  chiefs  every  opportunity.  I  hope  you  may  succeed  in  bring 
ing  this  serious  affair  to  a  speedy,  and  to  yourself,  a  praiseworthy 
end.  I  have  full  confidence  that  you  will  do  all  you  can  to  protect 
friendly  Indians.  Keep  a  sharp  lookout  for  Siletza  without  letting 
him  know  it. 

I  remain  yours,  GEORGE  ABERNETHY, 

Governor  of  Oregon  Territory. 

Col.  C.  Gilliam, 

First  Regiment  Oregon  Riflemen. 

OREGON  CITY,  3d  February,  1848. 

SIR  :  I  have  appointed  Major  Lee  and  Robert  Newell  commis 
sioners  to  act  with  General  Palmer,  superintendent  of  Indian  affairs, 
for  the  purpose  of  settling  the  present  difficulty  with  the  Indians  in 
the  upper  country.  I  have  ordered  them  to  hold  a  council  with  the 
field  officers  of  the  army  to  decide  on  the  steps  necessary  to  be 
taken,  as  there  should  be  entire  unity  between  the  officers  and  the 

THE   GAYUSE  WAR.  165 

commissioners.  If  you  think  it  best  to  proceed  at  once  with  the 
main  body  of  the  army  to  Waiilatpu,  do  so  ;  selecting  immediately 
on  your  arrival  the  best  point,  in  your  judgment,  for  erecting  a 
fort.  Grass,  water,  and  wood  will  be  the  principal  objects.  The 
Indians  have  no  cannon,  and  could  not  annoy  a  fort  from  a  dis 
tance.  Should  the  tribes  combine  and  refuse  to  comply  with  the 
requisitions  of  the  commissioners,  I  leave  the  field  in  your  hands, 
respecting,  however,  the  lives  and  property  of  all  friendly  Indians. 

I  shall  wait  with  much  anxiety  to  hear  from  you,  until  when,  I 
remain,  sir,  your  obedient  servant, 


Col.  C.  Gilliam,  Governor  of  Oregon  Territory. 

First  Regiment  Oregon  Riflemen. 

About  the  last  of  January,  Colonel  Gilliam  led  one 
hundred  and  thirty  men, —  all  that  could  be  mounted  and 
equipped, —  as  far 'east  as  Des  Chutes  river,  with  the 
object  of  punishing  those  Indians  who  had  driven  off  the 
immigrant  cattle.  Their  village  was  believed  to  be  on 
the  high  plain,  about  twenty  miles  above  the  Des  Chutes 
crossing,  on  the  east  side,  and  Lee,  who  had  received  his 
commission  as  major,  and  taken  the  oath  administered  by 
Gilliam,  was  sent  forward  to  discover  it.  The  Indians  had 
already  discovered  ihim,  and  were  moving  their  families 
and  property  towards  the  mountains  when  overtaken. 
He  threw  his  little  force  against  them,  one  Indian  being 
killed,  and  two  (women)  captured,  with  a  number  of 
horses.  On  returning  to  camp  with  the  news,  he  was 
attacked  while  passing  through  a  ravine  by  a  mounted 
and  well-armed  force,  which,  firing  upon  him,  compelled 
his  men  to  dismount  and  seek  shelter  among  rocks  and 
bushes,  where  the  detachment  remained  until  dark,  an 
noyed  by  avalanches  of  stones  rolled  down  upon  them, 
but  sustaining  no  loss. 

On  the  day  following  the  whole  force  went  in  pursuit  of 
the  enemy,  which  was  found  and  attacked,  losing  several 
men  killed,  a  large  number  of  horses,  a  few  cattle,  and 
one  thousand  and  four  hundred  dollars'  worth  of  stolen 
property  which  was  found  cached  in  the  hills.  Their 
village  was  destroyed,  but  the  old  people  in  it  were  spared. 


The  troops  had  one  man  wounded  in  the  hip.  Skirmish 
ing  with  the  troops  under  Major  Lee  continued  for  several 
days,  with  a  loss  to  the  army  of  three  men  killed  and 
one  mortally  wounded.7  The  Indians  engaged  were  Des 
Chutes,  John  Days,  and  Cay  uses.  Edward,  son  of  Tilou- 
kaikt,  was  among  the  latter,  and  received  a  wound.  It  is 
recorded  by  Palmer  that  the  yelling  of  the  troops  so  far 
exceeded  that  of  the  Indians,  the  latter  were  demoralized, 
and  fled  from  the  field.  Yells  were  certainly  cheaper  than 
ammunition,  if  not  so  patent  to  diminish  the  enemy's 

Apropos  of  fighting  material  at  this  time,  we  find  Wes 
ley  Shannon,  ordnance  officer,  writing  on  the  twenty-sixth 
of  January:  "The  regiment  made  a 'heavy  draw  toda.y 
before  starting,  in  the  ammunition  line.  I  have  issued 
about  one  thousand  rounds  today,  which  has  taken  nearly 
all  the  rifle  powder  and  lead;  percussion  caps  also  very 
scarce.  Out  of  fifteen  thousand  that  I  have  receipted  for, 
there  are  but  five  thousand  left.  The  army  will  return  in 
a  few  days,  when,  I  have  no  doubt,  there  will  be  a  demand 
for  more  ammunition  than  there  is  now  in  the  ordnance 

When  peace  commissioner  and  Commissary -General 
Palmer,  with  Newell,  arrived  at  Fort  Gilliam  they  found 
many  things  to  trouble  them.  The  cannon  that  had  ar 
rived  at  the  lower  cascades  was  still  there.  The  boats 
above  the  falls  were  in  bad  condition ;  there  was  need  of 
a  good  portage,  or  a  boat  that  could  be  run  up  the  rapids, 
with  a  crew  that  could  run  it.  "I  believe,"  says  Palmer, 
"that  a  system  of  smuggling  has  been  carried  on  by  those 
running  the  boats.  Numbers  of  Jews  come  up  as  passen 
gers  who  are  boarded  by  the  boat's  crew,  select  their  own 
property  and  return  with  it,  paying  the  captain  of  the  boat 
in  cash  or  otherwise.  Frequently  flour  barrels  are  opened, 

•  The  reports  say  William  Stillwell,  shot  in  the  hip  by  arrow;  "John,  the  Spaniard," 
also  shot  in  the  hip;  McDonald,  accidentally  shot  by  the  gnard.  At  The  Dalles  two 
guards,  Jackson  and  Packwood,  were  decoyed  from  camp  by  Indians  and  killed. 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  167 

a  part  of  the  contents  taken  out,  and  headed  up  again. 
This  is  all  wrong.  The  crew  should  be  selected,  the  name 
taken  in  the  office,  and  none  others  should  be  allowed  to 
come  up  unless  by  special  contract,  and  then  to  supply 
themselves  with  provisions,  blankets,  etc.  Very  many  are 
going  up  to  attend  to  their  own  property,  relying  upon  the 
provisions  sent  up  to  the  troops  for  subsistence.  This  will 
not  do.  Hereafter  captains  will  be  required  to  take  an 
oath  faithfully  to  perform  their  duties  and  to  render  a 
strict  account  for  their  expenses." lS  Thus,  while  the  truly 
patriotic  men  of  the  country  were  straining  every  nerve  to 
carry  on  a  defensive  war  against  nearly  hopeless  embar 
rassments,  the  meaner  element  found  in  every  society  had 
no  scruple  about  increasing  their  burdens. 

Pursuing  the  subject,  the  commissary-general  informs 
his  aide  that  after  all  he  has  learned  that  it  will  "not  be 
possible  to  get  the  Pettygrove  boat  above  the  falls,"  and 
he  should  endeavor  to  make  some  other  arrangement  until 
the  two  flatboats  could  be  repaired,  and  calls  for  a  few 
pounds  of  eight  or  ten-penny  nails.9  He  also  desires  Wait 
to  ask  McKinlay  to  have  constructed  for  him  two  clinker- 
built  boats,  the  lumber  to  be  sawed  at  Oregon  City,  and 
suitable  persons  sent  with  it  to  put  it  together;  such  per 
sons,  he  understood,  were  to  be  found  at  Champoeg  —  the 
Canadian  settlement. 

As  to  other  matters  at  Fort  Gilliam,  Palmer  found  a 
crew  of  six  men  sent  down  by  the  colonel  to  bring  up  the 
cannon  still  lying  at  the  lower  cascades,  the  road  being 
constructed  for  a  portage  not  being  completed,  though  it 
was  expected  that  by  another  day  it  would  be.  With  re 
gard  to  ammunition,  he  says:  "I  have  bought  the  powder 
and  lead  opposite  Vancouver.  You  must  try  to  raise  the 
money  to  meet  the  bill." 

8  Letter  to  A.  E.  Wait :  Oregon  Archives,  MS.  887. 

y  A  letter  from  J.  D.  Crawford  at  Fort  Gilliam,  February  ninth,  calls  for  "  a  large 
padlock  for  this  fort,"  two  pounds  of  eight-penny  nails,  aud  eighty  or  one  hundred 
feet  of  rope,  "  if  possible  ;"  and  asks  for  "  a  paper  when  it  i«  printed  ":  Oregon  Ar 
chives,  892. 


After  assisting  to  bring  the  cannon  around  the  cascades 
in  a  violent  storm  of  rain  and  wind,  Captain  Thomas 
McKay's  company10  arriving  just  in  time  to  be  of  service, 
Palmer  and  Newell  resumed  their  journey  to  The  Dalles, 
now  called  Fort  Lee,  and  often  Fort  Wascopan,  but  not 
before  the  commissary  had  the  vexation  to  see  the  best  of 
the  two  boats  above  the  falls  destroyed  by  the  storm,  and 
the  carelessness  of  those  having  it  in  charge.11  They 
reached  The  Dalles  February  tenth,  having  seen  a  few 
Indians  on  the  way,  who  appeared  "downhearted."12 

The  army  having  returned  to  Fort  Lee,  a  council  was 
held  on  the  eleventh  by  the  field  officers  and  the  peace 
commissioners,  to  decide  upon  a  definite  plan  of  action. 
Nothing  was  agreed  upon  until  the  twelfth,  when  arrange 
ments  were  made  to  send  forward  one  hundred  men  under 
Major  Lee,  with  the  other  two  commissioners,  Captain  Mc- 

10  When  the  governor's  proclamation  became  known  at  French  prairie,  there  was 
a  called  meeting  of  Canadians  who  passed  the  following  resolutions : 

Whereas  it  is  believed  that  several  of  the  Indian  tribes  east  of  the  Cascade  moun 
tains  have  formed  an  alliance  for  the  purpose  of  carrying  on  hostilities  against  this 
colony  ;  and  whereas  the  exigency  of  the  times  calls  for  prompt  and  energetic  action 
on  the  part  of  the  people  of  this  territory,  in  enlisting  and  mustering  into  service  the 
number  of  volunteers  required  by  the  executive;  therefore, 

Resolved,  That  we  deem  it  highly  expedient  to  raise,  arm,  and  equip  one  company 
of  riflemen  to  proceed  immediately  to  join  the  regiment  at  Portland. 

Resolved,  That  the  Canadian  citizens  of  Champoeg  county  feel  it  their  duty  to 
assist  our  adopted  country  in  the  prosecution  of  the  war  against  the  Cayuse  Indians, 
for  the  horrible  massacre  committed  by  them  upon  American  citizens  at  Waiilatpu. 

A  call  for  volunteers  being  made,  thirty  names  were  at  once  enrolled,  and 
Thomas  McKay  was  chosen  captain:  Oregon  Spectator,  January  20,  1848. 

When  the  American  flag  was  presented  to  McKay's  company,  he  addressed  to 
them  this  brief  sentence  :  "  This  is  the  flag  you  are  expected  to  defend  ;  and  defend 
it  you  must."  It  was  easy  to  understand  that. 

ii"  We  have  a  small  flat  here,"  wrote  J.  D.  Crawford,  "six  or  seven  feet  wide, 
which  we  can  use  until  a  larger  one  is  made.  *  *  *  The  boat  is  to  be  thirty -five 
by  ten  feet.  We  must  have  five  pounds  oakum,  two  chisels  ( one  and  two-inch ),  one 
jack  and  one  fore  plane,  and  also  one  small  grindstone.  These  tools  we  must  have, 
as  they  are  daily  needed  "  :  Oregon  Archives,  MS.  902.  Palmer  himself  had  written 
a  few  days  before  to  Wait,  in  behalf  of  the  men  employed  on  one  of  the  boats :  "  If 
possible  for  you  to  do  anything  for  them,  you  must  do  it.  Mr.  J.  C.  Little  wishes  a 
coat.  Josephus  Norton  wishes  a  roundabout.  You  must  call  upon  the  citizens  to 
aid  you  in  raising  an  amount  to  supply  the  men  who  are  boating  up  the  supplies  ": 
Oregon  Archives,  MS.  902. 

12  This  is  Newell's  expression,  taken  from  a  memorandum  of  the  incidents  of  his 
journey.  He  further  says  that  only  three  men  were  left  to  guard  Fort  Gilliam  ;  and 
three  to  run  the  boats  between  that  place  and  Fort  Lee.  "  The  men  have  volunteered 
to  fight  Indians,  not  to  run  boats,"  said  their  officers. 


Kay,  Captain  Philip  F.  Thompson,  and  J.  L.  Meek  and 
party  —  all  of  whom  were  familiar  with  the  ideas  and  cus 
toms  of,  and  personally  known  to  the  Indians. 

It  was  evident  notwithstanding  this  agreement  that  Col 
onel  Gilliam,  and  others  of  the  fighting  temper,  would 
have  preferred  offering  the  sword  rather  than  the  olive 
branch.  The  regiment  now  consisted  of  seven  companies, 
containing  from  forty-one  to  one  hundred  and  twenty-four 
men,  and  aggregating  five  hundred  and  thirty-seven.  The 
arrival  of  the  French  under  McKay,  and  another  company 
under  L.  N.  English,  with  the  cannon,  added  to  the  mili 
tary  ardor  of  the  troops,  who  expended  a  portion  of  their 
scanty  ammunition  in  firing  salutes  of  welcome  to  the  new 
arrivals,  which  were  promptly  returned  by  the  latter,  and 
the  regimental  flag  hoisted. 

On  the  day  following,  Colonel  Gilliam  informed  the  com 
missioners  that  he  had  ordered  the  army  to  be  ready  to 
march  with  them  on  the  fourteenth.  This  order  was  ex 
ceedingly  repugnant  to  the  commissioners,  who  did  not 
doubt  that  the  Indians  with  whom  they  wished  to  commu 
nicate —  the  Nez  Perces —  would  be  frightened  away  by 
the  appearance  of  a  large  force,  and  a  council  with  them 
made  impossible. 

According  to  the  memorandum  kept  by  Newell,  the 
morale  of  the  army  was  bad,  as  naturally  it  would  be  in 
the  case  of  volunteer  troops  brought  together  in  a  wild 
country,  without  disciplining  under  proper  officers13  hav 
ing  some  experience.  Many  of  the  volunteers  were  irre 
sponsible  young  men  of  the  recent  immigration,  who  had 
the  most  unfavorable  opinion  concerning  the  natives, 
obtained  from  encounters  with  them  along  the  road. 
They  were  ready  to  punish  in  an  Indian  what  they  had 
no  hesitation  about  doing  themselves.  These  lapses  in 

13 Says  Newell :  i:An  Indian  was  shot  by  one  of  our  people,  H.  English,  while 
hunting  horses  this  day;  a  most  shameful  thing.  *  *  *  The  cattle  of  the  immi 
grants  are  taken  and  made  use  of  for  the  government  —  branded  "O.  T."  *  *  * 
Several  men  leaving  for  the  settlements.  Captain  Ross  resigned.  Many  displeased 
with  our  people  in  consequence  of  bad  discipline." 


discipline,  together  with  the  usual  jealousies  of  new  organi 
zations,  and  the  hardships  unavoidable  under  the  circum 
stances,  were  already  creating  discontent  and  demoraliza 
tion;  hence,  the  policy  of  the  commander  to  put  the  army 
in  motion  was  perhaps  a  wise  one.  This,  at  all  events, 
was  what  he  decided  to  do,  leaving  only  twenty  men  at 
The  Dalles,  under  Corporal  William  Williams,  for  the  de 
fense  of  that  post,  having  first  removed  Siletza's  band  of 
Des  Chutes  Indians  below  The  Dalles  to  protect  them  from 
annoyance  by  the  Cay  uses,  as  also  to  remove  them  from 

Having  no  boats  to  transport  supplies  up  the  Columbia, 
The  Dalles  was  made  the  base  of  operations,  and  immi 
grant  wagons  and  ox  teams  left  there  for  the  winter  were 
pressed  into  the  service  of  the  army.  On  the  hind  wheels 
of  one  wagon  was  mounted  the  cannon,  a  long,  nine- 
pounder  left  in  the  country  from  some  ship,  and  on  the 
sixteenth  the  army  crossed  Des  Chutes  river.  The  follow 
ing  day  it  crossed  John  Day  river,  encamping  on  the  east 
side,  its  progress  being  slow.  Previous  to  this,  the  peace 
commissioners  had  sent  a  flag,  with  a  present  of  tobacco, 
to  the  disaffected  Columbia  river  Indians,  and  had  received 
information  that  all  the  tribes  above  The  Dalles  were 
united  for  war  against  the  Americans. 

While  en  route  Major  Lee,  having  made  a  reconnoissance, 
reported  the  camp  of  a  small  party  discovered,  which  had 
cached  its  property  and  retired  to  the  hills.  On  the  nine 
teenth  he  was  ordered  to  pursue  them  and  set  out  on  their 
trail.  From  camp  on  John  Day  river  the  commissioners 
had  sent  to  Fort  Walla  Walla  by  a  friendly  Indian  a 
packet  containing  a  letter  to  the  officer  in  charge,  with 
flags  and  tobacco  for  the  Indians,  and  a  letter  from  Mr. 
Spalding  directed  to  the  head  men  of  the  Nez  Perces, 
which  ran  as  follows: — 


WALLAMET,  February  3,  1848. 
Nez  Perce  Chiefs: 

My  friends,  Ellis,  Kansoot,  James,  Yusinmalakin,  Jacob,  Poca- 
tash,  Yarnomocknin,  Yumtamilkin,  Timothy,  Solomon,  Ishtoop- 
toopuin,  Tselsootalelmekum,  Joseph,  Kohsh,  Apashavakaikt,  Rich 
ard,  Heminelpelp,  Jason,  Anatashin,  Totamaluin,  Hohoselpelp, 
Metawaptosh,  Noah :  Quick,  meet  them ;  with  these  flags  meet 
them  ;  with  good  hearts  meet  them.  From  us,  from  the  Americans, 
five  go  to  meet  you  —  Mr.  Palmer,  Dr.  Newell,  Mr.  McKay,  Mr. 
Lee,  Mr.  Gilliam.  These  meet  you  ;  with  good  hearts  they  meet 
you.  They  bear  a  message  (proposals,  law,  or  a  talk);  from  the 
great  chief  they  bear  it.  Therefore  they  call  you  to  meet  them. 

Keep  quiet,  ye  young  men  !  do  not  go  over  to  the  Cay  uses.  Wait 
till  the  commissioners  speak  clearly  with  you.  The  good  are  not  to 
be  punished.  Only  the  bad  are  to  be  punished.  The  Nez  Perces 
and  the  Americans  are  one;  therefore  do  you  not  depart  from  us. 
Very  many  Americans  are  going  to  seek  the  bad  Cayuses,  and  the 
bad  only.  There  will  soon  be  large  ships  from  California,  therefore 
they  otter  to  you  a  message  ( proposals  of  peace). 

They  send  you  tobacco,  therefore  meet  them  without  delay.  My 
youngest  child  is  sick,  therefore  I  cannot  meet  you.  When  my 
child  is  well,  I  will  see  you,  by  the  blessing  of  God.  Ever  make  to 
yourselves  good  hearts.  By  the  blessing  of  God  we  may  see  each 


The  messenger  fell  in  with  the  hostile  Indians  and  was 
taken  prisoner,  the  flags  and  tobacco  being  appropriated 
to  the  enemy's  use;  but  the  packet  being  addressed  to  Mr. 
McBean,  the  written  part  of  it  was  forwarded  to  him,  and 
arrived  while  Timothy  and  Richard,  two  of  the  chiefs  ad 
dressed  by  Spalding,  were  at  the  fort,  who  hastened  to  carry 
it  to  their  people,  with  other  news  of  the  intentions  of  the 
Americans  learned  from  the  letter  sent  to  McBean.  To 
this  fortunate  circumstance  was  to  be  attributed  the  sub 
sequent  neutrality  of  the  Nez  Perces. 

On  coining  to  camp  on  the  night  of  the  twentieth  of 
February,  Major  Lee  reported  having  on  that  day  followed 
the  trail  of  a  party  of  Indians  going  towards  the  Blue 
mountains,  but  without  overtaking  them.  The  following 
day,  after  a  hard  march  of  twenty  miles,  the  army  en 
camped  at  Willow  creek,  the  wagons  getting  in  late,  the 


men  half  starved,  wholly  out  of  humor,  and  the  camp  in 
a  state  of  confusion,  if  not  absolute  revolt. 

The  regiment  was  now  almost  two  hundred  miles  from 
home,  ill-fed,  ill-clad,  with  the  enemy  retiring  before  them, 
and  peace  commissioners  going  after  them  to  turn  the  war 
into  a  farce !  If  the  long  march  was  only  to  escort  peace 
commissioners,  they  were  inclined  to  turn  back ;  and,  in 
fact,  Captain  Maxon's  company  took  a  vote  on  the  pro 
priety  of  returning  should  not  all  the  flour  remaining  be 
issued  at  once.14 

On  the  following  day,  Colonel  Gilliam  thought  it  wise  to 
remain  in  camp  and  cultivate  a  better  spirit  in  the  troops. 
He  paraded  the  regiment,  after  which  he  mounted  a  wagon 
and  addressed  them  in  the  language  of  a  soldier  loving 
his  country,  and  feeling  that  no  honorable  or  brave  man 
could  desert  his  duty;  declaring,  too,  that  the  movers  in 
the  mutiny  would  be  remembered  by  the  people.  This 
address,  though  provoking  the  criticism  of  some,  had  the 
effect  to  secure  somewhat  better  discipline  for  the  time, 
although  the  men  still  wasted  their  small  store  of  ammu 
nition  in  a  useless  discharge  of  their  guns. 

On  the  morning  of  the  twenty-third  a  party  of  thirteen 
Des  Chutes  Indians  came  into  camp,  bearing  the  flag  sent 
to  them  from  The  Dalles,  and  saying  they  had  come  in 
obedience  to  that  summons.  The  army  moved  on,  but 
the  commissioners  remained  for  a  "talk."  The  chief, 
Beardy,  alleged  that  his  reason  for  not  coming  on  the 
receipt  of  the  message  was  that  the  soldiers  had  fired  upon 
his  people,  compelling  them  to  run  away.  He  declared 
his  willingness  to  go  to  war  against  the  Cayuses,  and  his 
desire  always  to  retain  the  friendship  of  the  Americans; 

14  "  Most  shocking  was  this  to  witness,"  says  Newell  in  his  Memoranda.  "Some 
few  had  bought  a  little  tea  and  sugar  in  the  settlements  to  use  on  the  road,  and  many 
were  displeased  that  they  did  not  share  these  luxuries  with  the  rest,  and  objected  to 
their  being  carried  in  the  public  wagons  ;  but  the  officers  set  their  faces  against  all 
such  unreasonable  objections."  Previous  to  this,  on  the  seventeenth,  this  mutinous 
spirit  had  shown  itself  in  camp,  the  men  breaking  open  bread,  flour,  and  pork  bar 
rels,  until  the  colonel  was  forced  to  ask  the  commissary-general  to  take  charge  of  the 
provisions.  Perhaps  the  men  also  resented  this ;  at  all  events  they  gave  their  officers 
much  trouble  during  the  first  few  days  on  the  march. 


showing  his  confidence  in  them  by  accompanying  the 
commissioners  to  the  camp  of  the  army,  where  a  council 
was  held,  and  the  Indians  instructed  to  return  to  The 
Dalles,  there  to  remain  until  joined  by  the  commissioners 
and  the  chiefs  of  other  bands,  Colonel  Gilliam  giving 
Beardy  a  letter  to  the  officer  in  command  at  that  post. 
Beardy,  also  sometimes  called  Sue,  presented  Thomas 
McKay  a  fine  horse  from  Welaptulekt,  head  chief  of  the 
Des  Chutes  tribe,  who  sent  word  that  he  would  bring  in 
all  the  stolen  immigrant  property,  if  by  so  doing  he  could 
secure  the  friendship  of  the  Americans.15  Newell,  in  his 
memoranda  of  the  journey,  states  that  Gillian  was  reluc 
tant  to  condone  the  previous  conduct  of  these  Indians,  and 
would  have  preferred  to  fight  them. 

Before  starting  for  the  Umatilla  on  the  twenty-fourth, 
two  Yakima  Indians  came  to  camp,  carrying  a  message 
from  the  Catholic  missionaries,  who  had  settled  among 
that  people  in  the  preceding  December,  informing  the 
commissioners  that  the  Yakimas  had  taken  their  advice, 

•  and  determined  not  to  go  to  war  in  aid  of  the  Cay  uses,  as 
they  had  no  cause  of  war  against  Americans,  who  did  not 
travel   through   their   country,   and   as   they    had    been 
informed   the   hostilities   did   not  include  them.      They 
brought  to  Colonel  Gilliam  a  letter  from  one  of  the  priests, 

•  which,  being  translated,  agreed  with  the  statement  of  the 
messengers: — 

CAMP  OF  CIAIES,  February  16,  1848. 
M.  Commander: 

The  Yakima  chiefs,  Ciaies  and  Skloo,  have  just  presented  me  a 
letter  signed  by  Messrs.  Joel  Palmer,  Robert  Newell,  and  H.  A.  G. 
Lee  which  I  have  read,  and  a  young  Indian,  son  of  one  of  the  chiefs 
translated  it  to  them  in  Yakima  language.  The  chiefs  above  men 
tioned  charged  me  to  say  to  you  in  their  name,  in  those  of  Car- 
naiareum  and  of  Chananaie,  that  they  accept,  with  acknowledg 
ments,  the  tobacco  and  the  banner  which  you  sent  them.  They 
have  resolved  to  follow  your  counsel,  and  not  unite  themselves  with 
the  Cayuses,  but  to  remain  at  rest  upon  their  lands.  On  my  arrival 
at  the  camp  of  Ciaies,  that  chief  assured  me  that  he  would  not  join 

I5  Oregon  Spectator,  April  6,  1848. 


the  Cay  uses.  T  could  but  see,  with  the  greatest  of  pleasure,  disposi 
tions  which  will  prevent  the  spilling  of  blood,  and  which  will  facili 
tate  the  means  of  instructing  those  Indians. 

Your  humble  servant,  G.  BLANCHET. 

Word  had  been  sent  to  the  mission  on  the  Umatilla,  but 
no  answer  being  returned  in  four  days,16  the  commander 
determined  upon  pushing  on  his  army  to  Waiilatpu,  with 
out  regard  to  the  peace  commission,  and  a  courier  was 
sent  back  to  inform  the  governor  of  this  decision. 

The  march  was  begun  about  the  middle  of  the  forenoon, 
the  commissioners  being  in  the  advance,  carrying  a  white 
flag.  They  soon  discovered  two  Indian  spies  whom  they  en 
deavored  to  approach,  but  who  avoided  them.  About  noon 
a  large  number  were  seen  on  the  hills  making  signals  de 
noting  war,  arid  when  the  commissioners  advanced  they 
were  ordered  off.  They  then  retreated,  while  the  Indians 
collected,  coming  from  all  directions,  and  placing  them 
selves  along  the  path  of  the  army.  The  first  act  of  hos 
tility  was  the  shooting  of  a  dog  belonging  to  the  volunteers/ 
and  then  the  battle  proceeded  as  only  Indian  battles  do. 

The  picture  already  given  of  the  brave  display  made  by 
Indians  in  their  military  parades  and  mock  battles  for  the 
entertainment  of  guests,  was  not  fully  reproduced  in  actual 
combat.  The  bronzed  and  bedecked  warriors,  with  their, 
painted  and  tasseled  steeds,  the  splendid  riding  in  charges, 
the  furious  din  of  drum  and  rattle,  mingled  with  yells, 
and  the  stentorian  voice  of  command  making  itself  heard 
above  all  the  uproar,  creating  a  scene  only  matched  on 
the  plains  of  Troy  in  the  days  of  Agamemnon  —  this 

16  Brouillet  explains  this  in  his  "  Authentic  Account  of  the  Murder  of  Dr.  Whitman," 
p.  64.  The  mission  had  been  abandoned  on  the  nineteenth,  when  the  Cayuses  had 
announced  to  Brouillet  and  Leclaire  their  determination  to  go  to  war.  Brouillet 
further  says  that  Ogden  promised  the  Cayuses  to  endeavor  to  prevent  a  war,  and  to 
send  an  express  to  Walla  Walla  to  apprise  them  of  the  result ;  but  that  no  such  ex 
press  arriving  before  the  troops  were  there,  they  suspected  Ogden  of  betraying  them. 
Brouillet  thought  that  had  his  letter  arrived  in  time  the  Cayuses  might  have  accepted 
the  terms  of  the  government,  namely,  the  relinquishment  of  the  murderers.  But  it 
will  be  remembered  that  troops  were  already  at  The  Dalles  when  Ogden  passed  down 
with  the  captives. 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  175 

proud  style  of  fighting  is  not  maintained  in  actual  Indian 
tactics,  but  the  painted  brave  soon  seeks  cover,  and  shoots 
from  behind  rock?  or  other  defenses  —  a  mode  of  warfare 
in  which  a  good  deal  of  powder  is  wasted. 

The  numbers  on  the  field  were  about  equal  on  both 
sides,  although  not  more  than  three-fourths  of  the  Indians 
were  engaged,  the  remainder  being  spectators  or  Indian 
women,  waiting  for  victory  and  their  horrible  part  in  the 
sanguinary  business  —  the  mutilation  of  the  dead  and 
wounded.  The  Cay  uses  had  chosen  their  ground,  but  tho 
volunteers  advanced  steadily,  and  the  battle  raged  all 
along  the  lines,  which  were  thrown  out  to  enclose  the 
wagons  and  cattle.  On  the  northeast,  where  the  Indians 
seemed  to  push  the  strongest,  an  advance  was  ordered  in 
double  quick.  The  Indians  seemed  surprised,  and  the 
yell  of  the  volunteers  dismayed  them.  After  one  volley 
poured  in  the  face  of  the  advancing  column  they  retired 
to  an  eminence  further  away.  This  was  several  times 
repeated  when  they  made  a  disorderly  retreat  leaving 
their  dead  and  wounded.  The  troops  went  into  camp 
about  dark,  without  water  or  wood. 

The  loss  of  the  volunteers  was  five  wounded,  Lieutenant- 
Colonel  Waters,  Green  McDonald  of  Linn  county,  and 
three  others.  The  loss  on  the  side  of  the  Oayuses  was 
eight  killed,  and  five  wounded.  At  the  commencement  of 
the  fighting  Gray  Eagle  and  Five  Crows  rode  up  near  the 
wagons,  as  if  boastful  of  their  prowess,  Gray  Eagle  exclaim 
ing,  " There's  Tom  McKay;  I  will  kill  him;"  but  before 
he  could  execute  his  threat,  Captain  McKay  had  shot  him 
dead.  At  the  same  time  Lieutenant  Charles  McKay  shot 
Five  Crows,  shattering  his  arm. 

This  outcome  of  the  day's  fighting  was  a  disappoint 
ment  to  the  Cayuses,  who  had  hitherto  held  no  high 
opinion  of  American  prowess,  having  seen  them  avoid 
fighting  when  weary  with  travel  and  encumbered  with 
families  and  herds.  They  had  boasted  among  themselves 
that  they  would  beat  the  Americans  to  death  with  clubs, 


and  going  down  to  the  Wallamet,  possess  themselves  of 
their  women  and  property.17 

Soon  after  camp  was  made  a  visit  was  received  from 
Nicholas  Finlay,  who  was  present  at  the  Waiilatpu  tragedy, 
and  who,  according  to  Newell,  "told  lies  and  showed 
mu^h  treachery."  He  brought  with  him  two  pretended 
brothers  who  were  believed  to  be  spies. 

The  troops  passed  an  uncomfortable  night,  and  were 
early  in  motion  on  the  twenty-fifth,  traveling  all  day  sur 
rounded  by  Indians,  and  without  water.  It  became  evi 
dent  that  there  was  a  division  among  the '  Cayuses,  and 
that  those  who  had  held  aloof  the  day  previous  were 
desirous  of  peace.  In  fact,  they  sent  messengers  to  signify 
their  desire,  even  some  of  the  murderers  asking  for  a  coun 
cil;  but  the  commissioners,  as  well  as  the  troops,  refused 
to  talk  until  they  came  to  water,  which  they  did  not  find 
until  they  reached  the  Umatilla  at  sunset,  by  which  time 
the  troops  were  in  a  bad  humor  from  the  tortures  of  hun 
ger  and  thirst. 

The  Indians  were  encamped  four  miles  above  the  army 
on  the  east  side  of  the  river,  which  they  had  boastfully 
said  the  Americans  should  never  cross,  but  which  was 
crossed  on  the  twenty-sixth,  when  camp  was  made  a  mile 
nearer  the  Cayuses.  During  these  movements  the  Indians 
swarmed  along  the  hills,  many  showing  their  hostile  sen 
timents  in  many  ways,  while  others  refrained  from  warlike 
demonstrations,  but  all  exhibiting  alarm  at  the  presence 
of  troops  in  their  country.  After  the  army  had  encamped, 
the  chief,  Sticcas,  and  many  other  Cayuses  made  overtures 
of  peace,  and  were  told  by  the  commissioners  to  meet  them 
at  Waiilatpu.  From  these  visitors  it  was  learned  that  Five 
Crows  adjured  his  people,  should  he  die  of  his  wound,  to 
fight  the  Americans  without  end,  as  he  would  if  he  lived. 

One  reason  of  the  hesitancy  of  the  commissioners  to  en 
tertain  any  propositions  coming  from  the  Cayuses  at  this 
time  was  the  failure  to  establish  communication  with  Fort 

"  Letter  of  Charles  McKay  in  Oregon  Spectator,  March  23, 1848. 

THE   GAYUSE  WAR.  177 

Walla  Walla.  It  has  already  been  mentioned  that  the 
bearer  of  the  letters  to  McBean  and  the  Nez  Perces  was 
intercepted,  the  packet  falling  into  the  hands  of  Tauitowe, 
who,  after  abstracting  the  flag  and  tobacco,  sent  the  letters 
to  McBean.  The  answer  of  McBean,  however,  he  retained 
and  destroyed,  and  it  was  this  unexplained  silence  which 
made  them  hesitate. 

The  letter  to  McBean  was  an  explanation  of  the  pres 
ence  of  an  army  in  the  country,  not  for  the  purpose  of 
distracting  it  with  warfare,  but  to  bring  to  justice  the 
Cayuse  murderers,  and  to  prevent  the  other  tribes  from 
combining  with  them.  He  was  not  asked  to  take  part  in 
any  way  to  disturb  the  friendly  relations  of  the  Hudson's 
Bay  Company  to  the  Indians,  but,  if  possible,  to  aid  in 
bringing  about  peace.  Further  than  this  the  letter  ex 
pressed  anxiety  lest  the  Catholic  mission  and  the  fort 
should  be  in  danger,  and  offered  a  detachment  to  protect 
them  if  necessary.  The  same  packet  contained  a  letter 
from  Colonel  Gilliam  to  Brouillet,  asking  him  to  furnish 
a  statement  of  the  part  he  had  taken  in  the  affairs  of  the 
Waiilatpu  mission  before  and  after  the  massacre.  Brouil- 
let's  reply  went  the  same  way  with  McBean's,  but  it  is 
reproduced  in  his  Authentic  Account,  an  abstract  of  which 
has  been  given  in  a  previous  chapter. 

On  reaching  Walla  Walla  these  things  were  explained. 
Had  the  commissioners  received  the  letters  intercepted  by 
Tauitowe  they  would  have  been  in  a  position  to  treat  with 
the  Cayuses,  a  majority  of  whom  would  gladly  have  ac 
cepted  peace  on  the  governor's  terms  —  the  surrender  of 
the  murderers.  But  with  the  guilty  ones  striving  to  pre 
vent  a  peace  on  these  terms,  and  the  commissioners  coming 
with  an  army  and  hesitating  to  hold  a  council,  the  multi 
tude  were  alarmed  and  uncertain  to  a  degree  which  im 
pelled  them  to  self-defense,  if  not  to  aggressive  warfare. 

On  the  morning  of  the  twenty-seventh  not  an  Indian 
was  to  be  seen,  and  nothing  had  been  stolen  during  the 
night  —  proof  enough  that  none  were  near — and  it  was 



understood  that  they  had  gone  to  prepare  for  war:  The 
army  then  proceeded  on  its  march  toward  Waiilatpu. 

Newell  remarks,  in  his  Memoranda,  that  "for  the  last 
few  days  the  men  have  behaved  well,"  and  also  that 
"some  hope  is  entertained  that  our  mission  will  be  success 
ful,  though  we  lack  experience ; "  and  further,  "  we  have 
heard  of  Messrs.  Walker  and  Eells;  they  are  still  at  home, 
though  in  suspense  and  fear." 

On  the  twenty-eighth  the  troops  encamped  on  the  Walla 
Walla  river,  and  the  commissioners  had  an  interview  with 
McBean  and  the  Catholic  clergymen18  at  the  fort,  learning 
that  much  alarm  had  been  felt  on  account  of  the  combi 
nation  between  the  Cayuses  and  the  Columbia  river 
Indians;  but  the  Walla  Walla  chief,  Peu-peu-mox-mox, 
being  in  favor  of  peace,  was  regarded  as  a  hopeful  sign. 
Colonel  Gilliam  seized  the  opportunity  of  obtaining  from 
Brouillet  an  account  of  the  events  of  November  twenty- 
ninth,  as  they  had  become  known  to  him.  On  the  follow 
ing  morning  the  troops  moved  six  miles  up  the  Walla 
Walla  river  and  encamped,  when  Major  Lee,  with  twenty- 
five  men,  returned  to  the  fort  to  press  two  kegs  of  powder, 
which  were  secured.  Another  march  of  five  miles  on  the 
first  of  March  brought  the  army  to  the  camp  of  Peu-peu- 
mox-mox,  who  professed  friendship,  and  sold  several  beef 
cattle  to  the  commissary  of  subsistence.  Here  the  smoke 
and  dust  of  the  Cayuse  camp  in  mot;on  towards  Waiilatpu 
was  observed,  and  a  Nez  Perce  visited  the  commissioners 
to  t-ake  observations.  On  the  second  camp  was  made  near 
the  site  of  Dr.  Whitman's  mission.  And  so  at  last  the 
whole  of  the  horrible  story  was  made  known,  for  it  should 

18  B.  Jennings,  acting  quartermaster  at  Fort  Lee,  about  this  date,  wrote  a  letter  to 
A.  E.  Wait,  informing  him  that  Siletza,  the  Des  Chutes  chief  asserted  that  "the  priest 
at  Walla  Walla,"  which  was  Brouillet,  had,  under  duress,  been  compelled  to  make 
shields  for  the  Cayuses,  who  flattered  themselves  with  a  certainty  of  success,  intend 
ing  to  march  through  tho  Yakima  country  and  punish  them  for  their  neutrality  by 
killing  them  all  off,  after  which  they  proposed  to  march  down  the  north  side  of  the 
Columbia,  and  falling  upon  the  American  settlements,  exterminate  the  white  peo 
ple.  "We  are  troubled  very  much,"  continues  Jennings,  "with  friendly  Indians. 
Our  force  being  so  weak  at  this  place  we  are  compelled  to  be  more  liberal  in  presents 
of  meat  and  flour  than  we  would  if  our  situation  was  otherwise.  Among  the  many 

THE   CAYU8E  WAR.  179 

be  remembered  no  one  had  visited  the  mission  since  the 
rescue  of  the  captives,  whose  stories  contained  only  their 
personal  experiences,  colored  by  personal  prejudices. 

Colonel  Gilliam  with  two  companies  first  visited  the 
mission  grounds,  and  on  the  third  moved  his  camp  to  the 
ruins.  The  bodies  of  the  dead  had  been  unearthed  by 
wolves,  and  lay  about,  half  devoured.  Some  of  Mrs.  Whit 
man's  hair  was  cut  off  and  preserved  by  the  messengers  to 
Washington,  Meek,  Newell,  and  others,  and  the  remains 
remterred.l!)  Says  Newell,  "  papers,  books,  letters,  iron,  and 
many  other  things  lay  about  the  premises.  Wagon  wheels 
and  other  property  had  been  placed  in  the  house  before  it 
was  burned.  I  got  some  letters,  and  many  laid  about  in 
the  water."  That  these  letters,  which  would  have  thrown 
much  light  on  grave  questions,  were  not  religiously  pre 
served,  is  proof  of  a  want  of  proper  forethought  and  dis 
cipline.  They  were  carelessly  read,  discussed,  and  de 
stroyed,  the  only  scrap  of  information  that  floated  from 
them  to  the  public  ear  being  the  statement  that  proof  was 
found  in  them  that  Dr.  Whitman  was  fully  warned  and 
aware  of  his  danger. 

Colonel  Gilliam  called  a  council  of  his  army  officers  on 
the  third,  and  the  other  peace  commissioners  speedily  dis 
covered  that  the  military  spirit  in  their  associate  was  un 
able  to  brook  the  evidences  of  savage  malevolence  which 
the  scene  of  Waiilatpu  presented.  "  The  commissioners/' 
sa}*s  Newell,  "have  no  chance  to  arrange  with  the  In 
dians;  we  are  short  of  provisions  and  time;  our  colonel 
is  quite  hasty."  That  day  a  fortification  was  commenced, 
constructed  out  of  the  adobes  of  the  ruined  houses;  and 

lodges  in  our  vicinity  there  are  between  fifty  and  seventy  warriors,  and  I  am  not  cer 
tain  of  their  entire  friendship;  in  fact,  they  cannot  be  relied  upon.  They  are  daily 
asking  for  passes  to  go  to  Fort  Vancouver,  but  of  late  we  have  refused  them  any, 
believing  their  intentions  are  not  good  ":  Oregon  Archives,  1013. 

19  It  seems  from  Newell's  journal,  that  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Whitman  were  at  first  interred 
together,  "  with  a  paling  around  them,  nicely  done ; "  and  a  board  fence  around  the 
mound  which  held  the  other  dead.  These  enclosures  were  probably  constructed  by 
the  men  who  were  spared,  during  their  month  of  captivity.  The  mutilated  remains 
found  by  the  volunteers  were  hastily  placed  in  the  ground  all  together. 


notwithstanding  that  a  few  Nez  Perces  and  Peu-peu-mox- 
mox  made  friendly  overtures,  the  colonel  was  not  softened 
and  declared  in  council  that  he  had  come  to  fight,  and 
fight  he  would. 

On  the  night  of  the  fourth  of  March,  more  than  three 
months  after  the  massacre,  the  messenger  to  Washington 
made  a  final  start  for  the  states,  escorted  by  a  company  of 
one  hundred  men  as  far  as  the  Blue  mountains,  where  the 
little  party  of  nine  bade  their  friends  adieu,  and  set  out 
upon  their  mission,  depending  only  upon  their  own  sa 
gacity,  and  the  cap  and  capote  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Com 
pany  for  safety  from  the  dangers  of  the  journey.  The 
names  of  Meek's  companions  were:  G.  W.  Ebberts,  John 
Owens,  Nathaniel  Bowman,  James  Steel,  Samuel  Miller, 
Jacob  Leabo,  Dennis  Buris,  and  David  Young.  Ebberts, 
like  Meek,  was  a  "mountain  man,"  or  trapper  for  the  fur 
companies  for  many  years.  The  others  were  chiefly  re 
turning  immigrants.2" 

The  fifth  being  Sunday,  the  order  to  work  on  the  fortifi 
cation  was  very  unwillingly  complied  with,  and  signs  of  a 
mutinous  spirit  were  scarcely  repressed.  During  the  day 
William  Craig,  who  had  joined  the  army,  and  Joseph  Ger- 
vais,  from  French  Prairie  in  the  Wallamet,  went  to  meet 
a  large  body  of  the  Nez  Perces  whom,  rumor  said,  were 
coming  to  join  the  Cayuses,  and  to  bring  them  to  see  the 

20 The  party  experienced  the  unavoidable  hardships  of  mountain  travel  at  this 
time  of  the  year,  the  snow  being  soft,  but  reached  Fort  Boise  safely,  walking  most  of 
the  way  and  leading  their  horses  and  pack  animals.  Two  of  the  immigrants 
remained  at  Boise,  discouraged  by  the  trials  of  their  first  three  hundred  miles.  The 
remainder  of  the  party  proceeded  to  Fort  Hall,  traveling  day  and  night  for  fear  of  the 
Bannocks,  some  of  whom  had  been  met  on  the  road,  acting  suspiciously.  At  Fort 
Hall  they  received  warm  food  and  a  few  hours'  rest,  continuing  their  journey  with 
no  unnecessary  delay,  but  having  to  abandon  their  horses  after  two  days'  of  strug 
gling  through  drifts  of  fresh  snow,  and  take  to  snowshoes  made  of  willow  twigs 
woven  in  shape.  With  only  a  blanket  and  a  rifle  apiece,  and  depending  upon  the 
latter  to  procure  subsistance,  they  pushed  on  to  Bear  river,  where  they  came  upon 
the  camp  of  Peg-leg  Smith,  a  former  associate  of  Meek  and  Ebberts,  who  had  not 
abandoned  mountain  life,  and  who  received  them  with  a  liberal  hospitality,  which 
raised  their  strength  and  their  spirits  together.  Two  of  the  men  remained  at  this 
camp.  Refreshed  and  provided  with  food,  the  party  again  set  out,  on  snowshoes, 
and  reached  Fort  Bridger,  four  hundred  and  seventy  miles  beyond  Boise,  after  several 
days  of  hard  travel  James  Bridger  was  another  old  acquaintance  of  Meek's,  and 

THE   CAYU8E  WAR.  181 

commissioners.  According  to  Newell,  Colonel  Gilliam  was 
"much  displeased,"  and  threatened  to  march  to  battle  on 
the  morrow.  "This  army,"  he  remarks,  "is  composed  of 
different  kinds  of  men.  Some  have  come  to  behave  le 
gally;  others  to  plunder;  and  others  for  popularity.  To 
do  what  we  ought  is  easy,  if  we  could  act  together.  Cap 
tain  McKay  and  company  deserve  credit.  In  fact,  nearly 
all  the  officers  seem  to  wish  to  do  for  the  best." 

This  criticism,  confided  only  to  a  private  diary,  was  un 
doubtedly  honest,  and  might  well  have  applied  to  any 
army  in  such  circumstances.  Yet  he  nowhere  implies 
that  the  men  of  Gilliam's  command,  as  a  whole,  were  un 
patriotic  or  disloyal  to  their  duty.  He  does,  however,  often 
imply  that  petulance  and  indiscretion  on  the  part  of  their 
commander  produced  discord  and  disorder.  Still  it  is  well 
to  remember  that  Newell  belonged  to  the  peace  commission 
expressly  in  his  character  of  a  friend  to  the  Indians,  and 
as  understanding  their  ideas,  which  Gilliam  and  the  ma 
jority  of  the  volunteers  were  unable  to  do.  It  was  natually 
out  of  the  question  for  Newell  and  Gilliam  to  agree. 

However,  the  colonel  did  not  march  to  battle  on  the  sixth 
as  threatened.  Instead,  about  noon,  Craig  and  Gervais  re 
turned  with  information  that  two  hundred  and  fifty  friendly 
Nez  Perces  and  Cayuses  were  near,  who,  in  the  afternoon 
were  brought  to  camp,  the  army  saluting  and  cheering  in 

rendered  needed  assistance,  providing  the  party  with  four  good  mules,  by  which 
means  four  were  mounted  at  a  time,  so  that  by  taking  each  his  turn  in  walking  they 
got  on  very  well  to  the  Platte,  where  the  travel  was  improved,  but  subsistance  scarce. 
At  Fort  Laramie  fresh  mounts  were  obtained  from  the  French  trader  in  charge, 
Papillion,  who  warned  them  to  look  out  for  the  Sioux  at  Ash  Hollow,  a  favorite 
ambush.  While  attempting  to  pass  this  village  in  a  snowstorm,  which  he  relied  upon 
to  conceal  the  party,  Meek  heard  himself  hailed  by  his  familiar  title  of  "Major," 
and  to  his  great  satisfaction  found  himself  accepting  the  proffered  hospitalities  of 
Le  Beau,  a  Frenchman  well  know  to  him  in  his  trapper's  life.  Le  Beau  offered  to 
escort  the  party  beyond  the  village,  which  kindness  was  gladly  accepted,  and  one 
night  journey,  after  parting  with  their  friend,  brought  them  out  of  the  dangerous 
neighborhood.  Meek  arrived  on  the  fourth  of  May  at  the  Missouri  river,  where  im 
migrants  to  Oregon  and  California  were  then  crossing,  and  where  he  parted  from  the 
other  members  of  his  party.  The  remainder  of  his  journey  to  Washington  was  soon 
accomplished,  and  on  the  twenty-ninth  of  May  President  Polk  laid  before  both 
houses  of  congress  a  special  message  on  Oregon  affairs.  Many  amusing  incidents  of 
Meek's  mission  are  related  in  Mrs.  Victor's  River  of  The  West. 


the  most  hospitable  manner,  and  on  the  seventh  a  general 
council  was  held. 

The  speeches  of  the  chiefs  are  interesting  at  this  date  as 
specimens  of  savage  oratory,  as  well  as  showing  their  atti 
tude  towards  the  Americans. 

In  the  absence  of  Ellis,  who  was  gone  on  a  buffalo  hunt, 
Joseph  acted  as  head  man.  Governor  Abernethy's  letter 
being  presented  to  them,  and  the  seal  broken,  it  was  handed 
to  an  interpreter  to  be  read.  Joseph  said  :— 

Now  I  show  my  heart.  When  I  left  home  I  took  the  book  (the 
gospels  in  the  Nez  Perc6  language)  in  my  hand,  and  brought  it  with 
me.  It  is  my  light.  I  heard  the  Americans  were  coming  on  to  kill 
me;  still  I  held  my  book  before  me  and  came  on.  I  have  heard  the 
words  of  your  chief.  I  speak  for  all  the  Cayuses  present,  and  for 
my  people.  I  do  not  want  my  children  engaged  in  this  war, 
although  my  brother  is  wounded.'21  You  speak  of  the  murderers. 
I  shall  not  meddle  with  them.  I  bow  my  head.  This  much  T 

Jacob,22  who  was  wont  to  play  upon  the  superstitions  of 
his  people  to  gain  influence  among  them,  next  spoke.  He 
said:  "It  is  the  law  of  this  country  that  the  murderer 
shall  die.  That  law  I  keep  in  my  heart,  because  I  believe 
it  is  the  law  of  God  —  the  first  law."  He  also  said  he  had 
heard  the  Americans  were  coming  to  kill  all  his  people, 
but  was  not  turned  back  by  the  report.  He  was  thankful 
for  the  assurances  contained  in  the  governor's  letter,  that 
only  the  guilty  should  suffer. 

James,  a  Catholic  Nez  Perce,  expressed  pleasure  at  the 
escape  of  Mr.  Spalding,  and  said  that  he  was  sure  all  the 
chiefs  present  desired  peace. 

lied  Wolf  related  that  on  hearing  of  the  massacre  he 
had  gone  to  Waiilatpu  to  learn  the  truth,  and  had  been 
told  by  Tauitowe  that  the  young  men  had  committed  the 
murders,  but  that  not  all  the  chiefs  were  in  the  conspiracy. 

21  His  half-brother,  Five  Crows,  Joseph's  mother  being  a  Cayuse. 

92  It  is  related  by  the  missionaries  that  Jacob,  having  obtained  a  large  picture  of 
the  devil,  used  to  threaten  his  people  with  the  appearance  of  Satan,  and  carry  out 
his  threat  by  concealing  himself  and  suddenly  thrusting  forth  the  frightful  picture. 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  183 

He  had  returned  and  told  Spalding  all  he  knew  about  it, 
and  Spalding  had  said  he  would  go  to  the  Wallamet,  tell 
the  governor  the  Nez  Perces  had  saved  his  life,  and  that 
theirs  must  tie  saved. 

Timothy  preferred  not  to  talk.  He  said:  "You  hear 
these  chiefs;  they  speak  for  all.  I  am  as  one  in  the  air;  I 
do  not  meddle  with  these  things;  the  chiefs  speak;  we  are 
all  of  one  mind." 

Richard,  who  accompanied  Dr.  Whitman  to  the  states 
in  1835,  was  glad  the  governor  had  spoken  so  kindly.  His 
people  did  not  wish  to  go  to  war.  They  had  been  taught 
by  their  old  chief,  Cut-nose,  to  take  no  bad  advice,  but  to 
adhere  to  the  good.  As  for  Ellis,  he  was  in  the  buffalo 
country,  but  he  was  confident  he  would  be  for  peace. 

Kentuck,  the  Nez  Perce  who  had  conducted  Dr.  Parker 
through  the  Salmon  river  country  in  1835,  next  spoke, 
saying  that  he  had  been  much  with  the  Americans  and 
the  French,  and  nothing  could  be  said  injurious  of  him. 
He  had  fought  with  the  Americans  against  the  Blackfoot 
people.  He  had  been  with  Fremont  in  California  the  year 
previous,  not  for  pay,  but  from  regard  for  the  Americans. 
It  had  been  falsely  said  that  he  was  with  the  Cayuses  in 
these  murders.  His  people  had  never  shed  the  blood  of 
Americans,  and  he  was  glad  that  only  the  really  guilty 
were  to  be  punished. 

Camaspelo,  the  only  Cayuse  chief  present,  confessed  that 
his  nation  had  two  hearts.  Tamsucky  had  consulted  him 
on  the  subject  of  the  massacre,  but  he  had  refused  to  have 
anything  to  do  with  it,  giving  as  a  reason  that  his  child 
was  sick  and  he  had  no  heart  for  murder;  but  Tamsucky 
had  returned  to  the  other  chiefs  and  told  them  he  con 

Such  was  the  talk  of  these  chiefs.  Camaspelo  might 
have  further  said  that  at  the  very  time  he  was  being  con 
sulted  about  Dr.  Whitman's  murder,  the  doctor  had  ridden 
many  miles  to  visit  his  sick  child,  and  had  not  been  told 
of  the  danger  that  at  that  moment  overhung  him,  by  the 


child's  father.  But  the  commissioners  were  not  intent  on 
a  criticism  of  the  evidence;  they  were  only  glad  to  find 
that  a  part  of  the  Cay  uses  would  refuse  to  take  up  arms 
in  defense  of  the  conspirators. 

General  Palmer  then  followed  with  an  address.  He 
gave  praise  to  the  Nez  Perces  for  their  good  behavior,  and 
furnished  them  a  motive  for  continuing  quiet  by  telling 
them  the  Cayuses  by  their  conduct  had  forfeited  their 
lands.  He  declared  the  Americans  did  not  want  their 
lands;  they  only  wanted  a  road  through  them  kept  open, 
and  for  that  purpose  a  fort  would  be  built,  and  troops  sta 
tioned  at  Waiilatpu.  It  would  be  futile  for  the  Cayuses 
to  oppose  this ;  it  would  be  wiser  for  them  to  assist  in 
bringing  the  criminals  to  justice,  so  that  the  innocent 
might  be  at  peace.  The  Nez  Perces  were  advised  to  return 
to  their  homes  and  their  planting,  and  William  Craig,  with 
whom  they  were  well  acquainted,  was  appointed  agent  to 
reside  among  them,  with  the  authority  of  magistrate  to 
settle  all  differences.  A  teacher  and  a  blacksmith  were 
promised  them  when  peace  should  be  restored,  and  no 
white  men  were  to  be  allowed  to  settle  on  their  lands  ex 
cept  by  their  consent.  On  their  part  they  were  required 
to  refrain  from  molesting  the  missionaries  at  Chemekane, 
or  interfering  with  travelers  passing  through  their  coun 
try  or  coming  to  trade  with  them,  to  all  of  which  they 

The  other  commissioners  made  friendly  and  advisory 
addresses,  after  which  the  American  flag,  with  tobacco, 
was  presented,  and  the  business  of  the  council  was  fol 
lowed  in  the  evening  by  a  war  dance  for  the  entertain 
ment  of  the  convention  of  white  and  red  men. 

Gilliam,  as  one  of  the  commissioners,  could  not  avoid 
acting  his  part;  but  as  commander  of  the  army  he  was 
ill  at  ease.  He  saw  the  Cayuses  passing  by  unharmed, 
going  to  the  Nez  Perce  country  in  the  hope  of  inducing 
their  relatives  and  former  allies  to  join  with  them  against 

TffE   CAYUSE  WAR.  185 

the  Americans,  while  just  enough  of  them  lingered  behind 
to  pick  up  the  news  about  camp  and  act  as  go-betweens. 
Still  the  influence  of  the  superintendent  was  such  that  on 
the  eighth  the  Nez  Perce  chiefs  were  encouraged  to  go  to 
the  Cayuse  camp,  then  twenty-five  miles  distant,  to  en 
deavor  to  persuade  the  nation  to  give  up  the  murderers, 
the  army  to  follow  on  the  next  day,  two  of  the  commis 
sioners  accompanying  it.  It  had  advanced  but  three  miles 
from  Waiilatpu  when  it  was  met  by  chief  Sticcas,  who  had 
in  charge  several  hundred  dollars'  worth  of  cattle,  prop 
erty,  and  money  belonging  to  the  mission  and  murdered 
immigrants,  which  the  Cayuses  had  given  up  in  the  hope 
of  thus  creating  a  favorable  sentiment  in  their  behalf. 

A  proposition  was  made  by  Sticcas  for  a  council,  Gilliam 
objecting  on  the  ground  that  it  was  an  artifice  to  gain 
time;  but  it  was  finally  agreed  to,  and  the  troops  en 
camped  for  the  purpose.  In  the  talk  with  Sticcas  it  was 
made  known  that  the  Cayuses  refused  to  surrender  Taui- 
towe  or  Tamsucky.  The  first,  indeed,  had  never  been  ac 
cused,  but  Tamsucky  was  undoubtedly  guilty,  and  by  thus 
classing  them  together  the  murderers  sought  to  retain  more 
influence  on  their  side.  In  this  council  Colonel  Gilliam 
offered  to  accept  Joe  Lewis  in  place  of  five  of  the  murder 
ers,  but  no  agreement  was  arrived  at,  neither  the  other 
commissioners  nor  the  Cayuses  being  pleased  to  consent.15 
Still  a  certain  amount  of  success  had  attended  their  efforts. 
The  Nez  Perces  were  made  friendly  neutrals  and  the  Cay 
uses  were  divided,  so  that  ultimately  they  might  have 
come  to  the  terms  proposed. 

On  the  eleventh  the  army  made  a  fresh  start,  unen 
cumbered  by  a  peace  commission,  Palmer,  Lee,  and 
Newell,  with  McKay,  who  was  ill,  and  others,  leaving  for 
the  Wallamet,  those  remaining  in  the  Cayuse  country 
numbering  only  two  hundred  and  sixty-eight  men  and 
officers.  The  departing  half  dozen  remained  one  night  at 

-""  Seeing  such  a  move,"  says,  Newell,  "I  concluded  to  be  ofl'." 


Fort  Walla  Walla,  where  those  wounded  on  the  march  to 
Waiilatpu  had  been  left  to  recover.  Here  again  Peu-peu- 
mox-mox  was  seen,  professing  friendship  and  giving  the 
commission  much  information  concerning  the  events  of 
the  previous  November.  Here  also  they  found  some  sick 
of  measles,  that  disease  not  yet  having  abated.  The  party 
were  offered  an  escort  by  Me  Bean,  which  was  accepted  as 
far  as  The  Dalles,  the  route  taken  being  on  the  north  side 
of  the  Columbia.  "Our  difficulties  with  the  Indians," 
says  Newell,  "  places  this  fort  in  a  very  bad  position  with 
the  Indians,  as  they  desire  to  remain  neutral,  which  is  not 
so  easy  to  do." 

Palmer  arrived  at  The  Dalles  March  seventeenth,  and 
on  the  following  day  held  a  talk  with  the  Indians  who 
with  Beardy  had  been  sent  there  to  assist  his  return,  and 
who  agreed  to  remain  friendly,  to  bring  in  the  property 
stolen,  and  steal  no  more.  On  the  twenty-fourth  the  com 
missioners  arrived  at  Oregon  City.  General  Palmer  re 
sumed  the  duties  of  the  commissary's  office,  and  Major 
Lee  made  his  report  to  the  governor. 

Freed  from  the  peace  commission  Colonel  Gilliam,  as 
has  been  said,  took  up  the  march  for  the  camp  of  the 
Cayuses  on  the  eleventh  of  March.  On  the  first  day  three 
Indians  presented  themselves  bearing  the  flag  of  peace, 
and  having  with  them  some  of  the  horses  stolen  on  the 
march  from  The  Dalles.  They  reported  that  Sticcas  had 
taken  Joe  Lewis,  according  to  the  proposition  of  the  com 
mander  of  the  army,  but  that  his  prisoner  had  been 
rescued,  and  the  property  retaken  which  Sticcas  was 
bringing  to  deliver  up.  On  this  information  Gilliam 
quickened  his  march,  believing  that  Sticcas  was  endeavor 
ing  to  deceive  him;  and  while  encamped  near  the  head  of 
the  Touchet  on  the  Nez  Perce  trail,  received  a  message 
from  Tauitowe  professing  friendship,  and  his  intention  to 
forsake  the  company  of  the  hostile  Cayuses.  He  added 
that  his  camp  was  on  the  Tucannon  above  Gilliam's;  that 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  187 

Tamsucky  had  gone  to  Red  Wolf's  place  on  Snake  river, 
and  that  Tiloukaikt  had  gone  down  the  Tucannon  with 
his  following,  intending  to  cross  Snake  river  into  the 
Palouse  country. 

The  purpose  of  this  division  of  the  Cayuse  force  should 
have  been  apparent  to  the  commander,  and  perhaps  was 
so;  but  he  must  then  have  made  up  his  mind  to  place 
himself  where  he  was  liable,  to  assault  from  three  direc 
tions.  He,  however,  made  a  night  march,  arriving  near 
the  Cayuse  camp  not  far  from  the  mouth  of  the  Tucannon 
before  dawn,  waiting  for  daylight  to  make  his  presence 
known,  when  he  advanced  to  within  a  quarter  of  a  mile  of 
the  lodges.  Here  he  was  met  by  one  aged  Indian,  who 
with  his  unarmed  hands  on  his  head  and  his  heart, 
assured  the  commander  that  he  was  in  error  —  that  this 
was  not  the  camp  of  Tiloukaikt,  but  of  Peu-peu-mox-mox, 
who  was  his  friend,  and  would  not  fight  the  Americans. 
Tiloukaikt  was  gone  he  said,  but  there  was  his  stock  feeding 
on  the  hills  about,  and  the  Americans  might  take  that  if 
they  chose.  On  entering  the  camp  only  a  few  warriors 
were  found,  who,  though  armed  and  painted,  appeared 

The  Tucannon  river  runs  through  a  canon  with  high 
and  steep  walls,  and  Tiloukaikt's  cattle  were  on  the  further 
side.  No  sooner  had  the  volunteers,  with  much  fatiguing 
toil  for  both  men  and  horses,  reached  the  high  plain  than 
the  cattle  were  discovered  swimming  the  Snake  river  and 
escaping  into  the  Palouse  country.  The  trick  was  evident, 
and  the  Americans  acknowledged  themselves  outwitted. 
Nothing  now  appeared  feasible,  but  to  collect  what  few 
beef  cattle  remained,  with  several  hundred  head  of  horses, 
and  return  to  the  camp  on  the  Touchet. 

When  about  a  mile  on  their  retreat  they  were  attacked 
in  the  rear  by  a  force  of  four  hundred  Indians,  chiefly 
Palouses,  allies  of  the  Cayuses,  who  had  cunningly  left 
them  to  do  the  fighting,  while  the  guilty  among  them 
selves  ran  away.  The  remainder  of  the  day  was  passed 


in  a  painfully  slow  fighting  march,  the  troops  being  com 
pelled  to  pass  the  night  several  miles  from  camp,  without 
food  or  fire,  to  which  discomfort  was  added  the  fatigue  of 
the  previous  sleepless  night,  and  the  impossibility  of  catch 
ing  a  half  hours  rest,  with  almost  an  incessant  firing  into 
camp.  Unable  to  stand  the  strain,  the  order  was  given  to 
turn  out  the  captured  stock,  in  the  hope  that  the  Indians 
would  desist  from  their  annoyances  on  recovering  it.  But 
the  sacrifice  was  useless,  the  Indians  attacking  as  soon  as 
the  troops  were  upon  the  road,  which  was  as  soon  as  there 
was  light  enough  to  show  them  the  country  to  be  traveled 
over,  when  they  took  to  the  hills  on  the  west  side  of  the 
river  to  avoid  ambuscades.  "As  soon,"  says  one  report,  "as 
we  reached  the  top  of  the  hills  we  gave  a  regular  Indian 
yell  to  let  them  know  we  were  ready  for  the  fray.  It  came 
right  soon.  Captain  Halt's  company  from  Washington 
county,  and  Captain  Phil.  Thompson's  company  from 
Yamhill  county,  were  in  the  hottest  of  the  engagement, 
and  called  for  assistance,  which  was  rendered.  We  then 
moved  towards  the  Touchet,  and  as  we  had  beaten  them 
in  the  first  attack  we  began  to  fear  they  would  not  follow 
us  further.  The  interpreter  was  sent  to  the  top  of  a  hill 
to  challenge  them,  which  excited  them  somewhat.  As  we 
neared  the  Touchet,  Shaw  was  ordered  to  take  twenty 
picked  men  with  good  horses  and  cut  off  the  Indians  on 
the  left,"  they  having  been  hanging  all  the  morning  on 
the  column  in  bunches,  like  swarms  of  hornets. 

Shaw's  detachment  ran  their  horses  for  three-fourths  of 
a  mile  to  a  point  which  shut  the  Indians  off  from  the 
river;  but  they  pursued  a  shorter  route,  intending  to  come 
down  the  stream  before  the  volunteers  reached  the  timber, 
and  make  a  stand  there.  They  were  disappointed,  the 
volunteers  gaining  the  point  of  advantage.  The  bravery 
and  determination  of  a  few  young  men  saved  the  Oregon 
army  on  this  occasion.  The  names  of  those  so  distin 
guished,  according  to  the  report  of  the  senior  captain,  were 
Captains  Hall,  Owens,  and  Thompson,  Sergeants  Burch 


and  Cooke,  Quartermaster  Goohue,. Judge-Advocate  Rinear- 
son,  and  Paymaster  Magone.  Captain  English  had  been 
left  in  charge  of  Fort  Waters,  and  Captain  McKay  was  ill 
at  Fort  Walla  Walla.  Captain  Maxon  was,  by  an  accident,, 
placed  in  a  position  where  he  was  compelled  to  conduct 
the  official  correspondence,  and  therefore  to  leave  his  own 
name  out  of  this  commendatory  mention  where  it  properly 

The  troops  on  the  right  had  also  a  warm  engagement  ii* 
passing  a  fortification  erected  and  manned  by  some  of  the 
best  warriors  among  the  Indians.  In  passing  this  point 
several  volunteers  were  wounded,  one  of  whom,  William 
Taylor,  died  soon  after  the  battle.  The  Indians  lost  four 
killed  and  fourteen  wounded.25  Their  women  cried  and! 
implored  them  to  cease  fighting,  which  they  did,  nor  eouldl 
any  taunts  excite  them  to  renew  the  conflict. 

The  victory  was  with  the  volunteers,  the  Indians  fioft 
crossing  the  Touchet.  Their  yells  and  battle  cries  were? 
changed  to  wailing;  the  sharp  war  rattle,  and  crack  and 
ping  of  musketry,  were  followed  by  the  nerve  thrilling 
death  song. 

Thirty  hours  of  fighting  without  rest  or  food26  had  left 
the  troops  in  a  condition  to  be  glad  of  a  respite.  They 
arrived  at  Fort  Waters  on  the  sixteenth,  with  a  better 
knowledge  of  what  was  before  them  during  the  spring  and 
summer,  should  they  not  be  able  to  take  the  murderers, 
than  they  could  otherwise  have  obtained.  The  Yakimas 
might  remain  neutral,  the  Walla  Wallas  friendly,  and  the 
Nez  Perces  keep  their  promises,  still  there  were  renegades 
from  all  these  and  other  tribes,  and  all  the  Palouses,  who 
like  the  Hessians  of  history  were  ever  ready  to  fight  on 
any  side  for  hire.  There  were  more  northern  tribes  who 

24  Oregon  Spectator,  April  6,  1848.    Oregon  Archives,  MS.  806. 

-•"'The  Catholic  Magazine,  volume  VII.,  p.  491,  gives  the  number  of  Indians  killed 
as  fifty.  It  is  an  error. 

2"In  a  Narrative  by  Peter  W.  Crawford  of  Cowecman,  Washington,  is  the  state 
ment  that  all  the  army  ate  in  the  thirty  hours  was  one  small  colt.  There  is  no  men 
tion  of  it  in  the  reports,  but  it  is  probable  enough. 


had  not  yet  declared  themselves,  and  among  whom  were 
the  missionaries  Walker  and  Eells,  but  who  probably 
would  not  dare  to  remain  there  after  the  news  of  the  battle 
should  reach  the  Indians  in  their  vicinity. 

Colonel  Gilliam  was  fully  convinced  of  the  gravity  of  the 
situation,  and  held  a  council  of  his  officers  on  the  eight 
eenth,  at  which  there  was  not  perfect  unanimity  of  opinion, 
a  part  believing  it  necessary  to  raise  another  regiment,  and 
(mother  part  that  only  men  enough  to  hold  the  forts  in  the 
Indian  country  were  required.  In  any  case  provisions 
were  indispensable,  and  it  was  decided  to  proceed  with  half 
the  force  to  The  Dalles  to  escort  a  supply  train  to  Fort 
Waters,  Gilliam  himself  to  accompany  it  to  confer  with 
Governor  Abernethy  on  the  existing  condition  of  affairs, 
the  peace  commission  having  been  an  acknowledged 

Agreeably  to  this  plan,  the  companies  of  Maxon  and 
McKay,  with  their  officers  and  others,  left  Waiilatpu  on  the 
twentieth  of  March  with  a  wagon  train.  At  the  springs 
beyond  the  Umatilla,  where  they  encamped  for  the  night, 
as  the  colonel  was  drawing  a  rope  from  a  wagon  with 
which  to  tether  his  horse,  it  caught  upon  the  trigger  of  a 
gun  lying  on  the  bottom  of  the  wagon,  discharging  it,  the 
contents  entering  his  body  and  causing  instant  dearth.  The 
expedition  hastened  forward  to  The  Dalles,  and  from  there 
Major  Lee  and  Captain  McKay,  who  was  retiring  from  the 
service  on  account  of  his  health,  conducted  the  remains  to 
the  Wallamet  valley,  and  at  the  same  time  conveyed  a 
report  by  Captain  Maxon  of  the  recent  battle,  and  the 
condition  of  the  army  for  the  information  of  Adjutant- 
General  Lovejoy  and  Governor  Abernethy. 

The  death  of  Colonel  Gilliam,  while  it  was  regretted 
throughout  Oregon,  tended  to  remove  some  causes  of  dis 
satisfaction  in  the  army  which  was  divided  in  its  alle 
giance  to  its  commander.  By  some  he  was  accused  of  too 
great  impetuosity,  too  little  regard  for  military  discipline, 

THE  GATU8E  WAR,  191 

and  of  injurious  favoritism,  even  of  ignoring  the  rights  of 
immigrants  to  their  property,  in  disregard  of  the  instruc 
tions  of  the  commander -in -chief,  Governor  Abernethy. 
These  complaints  were  made  by  officers,  while  the  privates 
were  not  inclined  to  quarrel  with  qualities  which  were 
likely  to  be  popular  in  the  ranks,  nor,  perhaps,  did  they 
always  sympathize  with  the  jealousies  of  their  superiors. 
Abernethy  himself  did  not  escape  the  criticism  of  officers 
in  the  field,  though  for  reasons  quite  opposite  to  those  for 
which  Colonel  Gilliam  was  censured. 

As  an  example  of  the  kind  of  insubordination  referred 
to,  the  following  letter  is  quoted:— 

WAIILATPU,  May  3,  1848. 
Adjutant-General  Lovejoy  : 

DEAR  SIR  :  When  I  received  the  appointment  of  paymaster  I 
was  wholly  ignorant  of  the  duties  that  devolved  upon  me  by  virtue 
of  my  appointment,  further  than  that  set  forth  by  the  commanding 
officer,  whose  language  to  me  was  as  follows  :  "Paymaster  Magone, 
whatever  may  be  taken  by  the  army  as  government  property,  you 
are  directed  to  keep  a  correct  account  of,  and  whenever  I  order  a 
sale,  either  by  auction  or  otherwise,  you  will  appear  present  and 
take  note  of  what  may  be  sold,  and  to  whom,  &c.,  &c.,  that  it  may 
appear  against  the  purchaser  on  the  day  of  settlement  with  the  gov 
ernment."  In  our  first  campaign  up  Des  Chutes  river  we  obtained 
some  property,  a  goodly  portion  of  which  I  then  viewed  as  immi 
grants',  having  seen  several  of  the  same  articles  on  the  thirty-first 
day  of  last  December  in  their  wagons  at  Welaptulekt's,  to  which 
place  I  had  been  sent  by  Captain  Lee  in  search  of  arms  and  ammu 
nition,  &c.,  &c.  I  merely  mentioned  these  facts  to  the  colonel 
previous  to  a  sale  of  the  property,  for  which  I  received  a  warm 
reprimand  from  that  officer.  The  property  was  then  sold  to  the 
highest  bidder,  and  we  proceeded  on  our  way  to  The  Dalles.  One 
gentleman  discovered,  after  packing  a  large  pot  for  miles,  that  it  had 
a  leg  broken  off,  was  cracked,  &c.,  either  by  accident  or  otherwise 
as  the  case  might  be,  and  requested  me  to  erase  his  name  from  my 
list.  I  refused.  The  colonel  then  appeared  in  person  and  requested 
me  to  do  it;  and  so  it  was,  on  all  occasions.  He  reserved  to  himself 
the  right  of  saying  when  a  man's  name  should  or  should  not  be 
erased.  Several  of  the  horses  sold  at  The  Dalles  were  given  up  to 
friendly  Indians  who  claimed  them,  and  also  at  this  place.  After 
Colonel  Gilliam  left  there  was  a  new  leaf  turned  over  in  the  horse 
account.  They  were  all  appraised,  and  those  who  stood  most  in 


need  got  first  choice.  I  have  kept  a  correct  account  of  everything 
that  has  come  into  my  hands  in  any  way,  but  at  the  same  time  it  is 
impossible  for  me  to  send  you  a  correct  report,  for  if  all  the  horses 
claimed  by  friendly  (bless  the  mark!)  Indians  are  given  up,  there 
will  be  few,  if  any,  left.  I  have  at  present  two  thousand  three  hun 
dred  dollars  on  my  books,  besides  between  seventy-five  and  one 
hundred  names  of  persons  who  received  horses  as  gifts  from  Colonel 
Gilliam,  and  with  which  I  had  nothing  whatever  to  do,  as  they 

Iwere  given  at  different  times  and  places  without  reference  to  day, 
date,  or  anything  of  the  kind.  On  the  twentieth  of  March  I  was 
chosen  to  fill  the  place  of  Major  Lee  until  the  return  of  that  officer, 
and  Mr.  Knox  was  appointed  in  my  place  by  Colonel  Gilliam. 

I  remain,  dear  sir,  with  respect,  your  obedient  humble  servant, 


Lieutenant-Colonel  Waters  wrote  April  fourth : — 

Adjutant  Wilcox,  and  the  sergeant-major,  having  left  with  Col 
onel  Gilliam,  I  found  it  necessary  to  appoint  suitable  persons  to 
fill  the  vacancy  of  the  same  for  the  time  being.  I  also  pursued  the 
same  course  in  relation  to  the  judge-advocate.  *  *  There  is  a 
deficiency  in  the  number  of  horses.  The  cause  of  this  is,  that  some 
have  been  killed  in  action,  as  was  my  own  ;  some  have  been  taken 
by  the  Indians;  and  others  have  failed,  and  we  have  left  them. 
The  exact  number  we  cannot  ascertain,  as  there  was  a  deficiency 
previous  to  Colonel  Gilliam's  departure.  I  would  mention  some 
thing  further  relative  to  our  situation,  but  as  you  will  have  all  the 
particulars  in  my  letter  to  the  governor,  and  from  others,  I  will 
drop  the  subject  for  the  present :  Oregon  Archives,  MS.  854. 

On  the  fourth  of  May,  S.  B.  Knox,  who  had  been  ap 
pointed  paymaster  when  Magone  left  for  The  Dalles,  wrote 
to  the  adjutant-general: — 

The  sale  of  horses  at  this  place  to  different  individuals,  after 
being  appraised,  and  taken  at  the  appraisement,  has  amounted  to 
one  thousand  and  twenty-four  dollars ;  but  several  of  those  horses 
have  since  been  claimed  and  given  up  to  the  friendly  Indians  by 
order  of  Colonel  Waters,  and  others  claimed  that  are  not  given  up, 
and  will  not  be  given  up  unless  ordered  so  by  Colonel  Lee  upon  his 
taking  command.  *  *  It  is  my  opinion  that  there  will  be  but 
few  more  horses  given  up  to  the  so-called  friendly  Indians :  Ore 
gon  Archives,  MS.  1004. 

As  to  Gilliam  the  man,  the  community  of  his  fellows 
understanding  him,  and  generously  refusing  to  impute 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  193 

blame  to  the  patriot  who  died  in  the  discharge  of  his 
duty,  the  legislature  of  1849  passed  a  resolution  declaring 
that  it  entertained  "the  utmost  confidence  in  the  integrity 
of  the  said  Colonel  Gilliam,  and  that  the  stores  receipted 
for  by  him  to  the  commissary  department,  and  the  pro 
ceeds  of  the  said  sale  of  horses,  were  by  him  faithfully  and 
properly  applied  to  the  public  service."  It  was  also 
further  resolved :  "  That  the  heirs  of  the  estate  of  Cornelius 
Gilliam,  deceased,  be  and  they  are  hereby  discharged 
from  all  responsibility  to  the  Oregon  government  for  the 
military  stores  distributed  to  the  army,  and  horses  sold  by 
his  order  for  the  benefit  of  the  Oregon  government .  And 
tfyat  the  commissary-general  is  hereby  authorized  to 
transfer  the  said  military  stores  and  horses  to  the  credit 
of  their  proper  accounts."2 

The  death  of  Gilliam  left  Lieutenant-Colonel  Waters  in 
command,  and  here  again  there  arose  discontent  because 
Governor  Abernethy  appointed  Major  Lee  to  the  command, 
leaving  Waters  in  the  second  place.  His  action  was  both 
applauded  and  blamed.  As  a  rule,  the  favorites  of  the 
governor  were  not  those  of  the  western  people,  who  now 
formed  the  bulk  of  the  population ;  but  the  letters  from 
the  army  on  the  promotion  of  Lee  were  generally  con 

*>  Oregon  Archives,  MS.  2014. 

2r*H.  A.  G.  Lee  was  a  Virginian,  a  descendant  of  Richard  Lee,  founder  of  the  Old 
Dominion  family  of  that  name.  He  was  about  thirty-one  years  of  age,  well  educated 
and  conscientious,  having  been  trained  for  the  profession  of  theology.  But  not  being 
very  strong  in  his  belief  in  the  inspiration  of  the  bible  he  occupied  himself  with 
travel,  and  in  1843  came  to  Oregon,  spending  his  first  winter  at  Waiilatpu.  After  the 
Cayuse  war  he  went  to  the  California  gold  mines,  and  was  successful.  He  brought  a 
stock  of  goods  to  Oregon  City,  and  entered  into  a  partnership  with  S.  W.  Moss,  a 
daughter  of  whom  he  married  in  1850.  He  died  a  few  years  later  while  on  a  voyage 
to  New  York. 









To  UNDERSTAND  why  Colonel  Gilliam  determined  to  re 
turn  to  the  seat  of  government,  the  following  letter  should 
be  taken  into  consideration : — 

OREGON  CITY,  March  17,  1848. 

I  received  your  communication  of  the  twenty-ninth  ultimo  on 
the  evening  of  the  fifteenth  instant.  I  regret  that  so  many  of  our 
volunteers  were  wounded,  and  sincerely  hope  they  may  all  recover. 
The  Indians  have  learned  by  this  time  that  the  Americans  are  not 
women,  and  I  think  their  feelings  will  change  with  their  opinion. 
The  probability  is  that  the  warm  reception  they  intended  giving 
you,  having  been  returned  with  such  heavy  interest,  will  be  the 
means  of  concluding  a  peace  with  the  tribes.  Fear  will  deter  them 
from  uniting  against  the  whites.  I  am  put  in  possession  of  data 
from  Walla  Walla  up  to  seventh  March,  by  which  letter  I  under 
stand  "that  all  that  could  be  done  will  be  accomplished  without 
further  bloodshed."  This  is  an  extract  from  General  Palmer's  letter 
to  Mr.  McBean.  The  Walla  Walla  chief  remains  friendly.  This  is 
good  under  these  circumstances,  which  no  doubt  transpired  after 
your  letter  was  written.  I  have  made  no  requisition  for  more  men. 
The  fact  is,  it  is  impossible  to  get  men  without  money,  and  money 
you  know  we  have  not. 

I  expect  to  hear  further  from  you  in  a  few  days.  Your  next  letter 
will,  I  think,  determine  me  what  course  to  take.  If  more  men  are 
needed,  the  legislature  must  come  together,  and  a  direct  tax  be  levied 
on  property.  I  hope,  however,  this  may  be  avoided.  If  the  tribes 


THE   GAYUSE  WAR.  195 

do  not  unite,  your  force  can  hold  Waiilatpu  until  we  get  assistance 
from  California.  I  think  the  Henry,  Captain  Kilborne,  will  be  there 
in  ten  days  from  this,  and  I  hope  wre  shall  immediately  get  aid. 
Please  present  my  thanks  to  the  officers  and  men  under  your  com 
mand.  I  will  add  there  is  now  one  hundred  barrels  of  flour  at  the 
Cascades  and  Dalles.  Captain  Garrison  was  instructed  to  remain 
with  his  company  at  The  Dalles. 

I  remain,  sir,  your  obedient  servant, 

Col.  C.  Gilliam,  Governor  of  Oregon  Territory. 

First  Regiment  Oregon  Riflemen,  Waiilatpu. 

Events  had  transpired  since  the  governor's  declaration 
that  no  more  men  could  be  enlisted  without  calling  an 
extra  session  of  the  legislature,  which  made  it  imperative, 
if  the  war  was  carried  on,  that  more  companies  should  be 
raised,  and  that  without  loss  of  time. 

Meanwhile  the  army  was  in  a  sorry  condition.  Captain 
Maxon,  immediately  on  arriving  at  The  Dalles,  where  he 
found  a  reenforcement  of  one  company  only,  under  Joseph 
M.  Garrison,  sent  his  report  below  to  the  adjutant- general. 
He  reminded  that  officer  that  there  remained  at  Fort 
Waters,  which  was  an  enclosure  of  but  a  few  feet  in  height, 
only  one  hundred  and  fifty  men,  almost  without  clothing 
or  ammunition,  and  wholly  without  bread.  He  appealed 
to  fathers  to  send  bread  to  their  sons,  who  were  keeping 
danger  away  from  their  hearthstones;  to  mothers  to  pro 
vide  clothing  to  protect  their  children  from  the  winter 
blasts;  to  young  women  to  frown  upon  every  young  man 
who  refused  to  volunteer  to  defend  their  honor  and  their 
common  country,  and  to  every  one  to  hasten  the  supplies 
for  which  he  was  waiting  at  Fort  Lee. 

This  picture  of  destitution,  which  was  true  in  every 
particular  when  Gilliam  set  out  for  The  Dalles,  was,  at  the 
time  Maxon 's  report  was  written,  considerably  ameliorated, 
as  appears  from  a  letter  by  Jesse  Cad  waller,  a  private  in 
Thompson's  company,  on  the  fourth  of  April,  and  before 
the  news  of  the  colonel's  death  had  reached  Fort  Waters; 
for  this  correspondent  says  that  thirty  bushels  of  wheat, 
besides  peas  and  potatoes,  had  been  found,  and  the  mill 


had  been  repaired  for  grinding.  Beef  also  was  plenty, 
which  the  men  busied  themselves  in  slaughtering  and 
drying,  in  preparation  for  a  campaign. 

However,  Captain  Maxon's  appeal  was  well  timed.  It 
had  the  effect  to  revive  volunteering,  and  to  awaken  a 
more  personal  sympathy  with  the  army.  The  matrons  of 
Oregon  City  set  on  foot  an  organized  effort  to  provide 
clothing  for  the  soldiers;1  while  the  young  women  entered 
into  a  compact  to  withhold  their  favor  from  any  young 
man  who  would  not  fight  in  defense  of  them  and  their 
country.  The  fear  of  losing  their  land  claims,  should 
they  long  absent  themselves,  had  kept  many  men  without 
families  at  home;  but  in  the  published  compact  the  young 
women  agreed  to  protect  the  claims  abandoned,  that  their 
owners  might  go  to  the  war.  This  agreement  was  signed 
by  "fifteen  young  ladies  of  Oregon  City;"  nor  was  the 
^protocol  without  effect. 

The  governor  also  issued  the  following  proclamation : — 

Recent  accounts  from  the  seat  of  war  show  that  the  Indians  are 
in  pretty  strong  force,  and  determined  to  fight.  Many  of  the  tribes 
have  expressed  a  desire  to  remain  peaceful,  but  there  can  be  no 
question  that  the  slightest  defeat  on  our  part  will  encourage  portions 
of  them  to  unite  against  us,  and  if  they  should  unfortunately  suc 
ceed  in  cutting  off  or  crippling  our  army,  it  would  be  a  signal  for  a 
general  union  among  them;  fear  is  the  only  thing  that  will  restrain 
them.  It  is  necessary  at  the  present  moment  to  keep  a  strong  force 
in  the  field  to  keep  those  friendly  that  have  manifested  a  desire  for 
peace,  and  to  keep  the  hostile  Indians  busy  in  their  own  country, 
for  the  war  must  now  either  be  carried  on  there,  or  in  our  valley. 
The  question  is  not  now  a  matter  of  dollars  and  cents  only  ;  but 
whether  exertions  will  be  made  on  the  part  of  citizens  of  the  territory 
to  reenforce  and  sustain  the  army  in  the  upper  country,  and  keep 
down  the  Indians  (which  our  men  are  able  and  willing  to  do  if 
supported ),  or  disband  the  army  and  fight  them  in  the  valley.  One 
of  the  two  must  be  done.  If  the  army  is  disbanded,  before  two 
months  roll  round  we  will  hear  of  depredations  on  our  frontiers, 
families  will  be  cut  off.  and  the  murderers  on  their  fleet  horses  out 
of  our  reach  in  some  mountain  pass  before  we  hear  of  the  massacre. 

JThe  president  of  this  society  was  Mrs.  N.  M.  Thornton,  and  the  secretary  Mrs.  E. 
F.  Thurston.  Mrs.  Hood,  Mrs.  Robb,  Mrs.  Crawford,  Mrs.  Herford,  and  Mrs.  Leslie 
were  active  members. 


Many  young  men  are  willing  to  enlist  and  proceed  to  the  seat  of 
war,  but  are  unable  to  furnish  an  outfit ;  let  their  neighbors  assist 
them,  fit  them  out  well,  and  send  them  on.  As  a  people  we  must 
assist  and  carry  on  the  war.  I  hope  sincerely  that  the  government 
of  the  United  States  will  speedily  extend  its  protecting  care  over  us, 
but  in  the  meantime  we  must  protect  ourselves,  and  now  is  the 
time.  I  therefore  call  on  all  citizens  of  this  territory  to  furnish  three 
hundred  men  in  addition  to  the  number  now  in  the  field.  Three 
new  companies  will  be  organized  and  attached  to  the  regiment  com 
manded  by  Colonel  H.  A.  G.  Lee ;  each  company  to  consist  of 
eighty-five  men,  rank  and  file;  the  remainder  will  be  distributed 
among  the  companies  already  organized  ;  the  enlistments  to  be  for 
six  months,  unless  sooner  discharged  by  proclamation  or  relieved 
by  the  troops  of  the  United  States.  Each  man  will  furnish  his  own 
horse,  arms,  clothing  and  blankets.  The  companies  will  bring  all 
the  ammunition,  percussion  caps,  and  camp  equipage  they  can,  for 
which  they  will  receive  a  receipt  from  the  commissary-general. 

All  citizens  willing  to  enlist  will  form  themselves  into  detach 
ments  in  their  several  counties  and  be  ready  to  march  to  Portland, 
so  as  to  arrive  there  on  the  eighteenth  day  of  April,  on  which  day 
Colonel  Lee  will  be  there  to  organize  the  new  companies ;  after 
which  the  line  of  march  will  be  taken  up  for  Waiilatpu.  If  a  suf 
ficient  number  of  men  to  form  a  foot  company  appear  on  the  ground, 
they  will  be  received  as  one  of  the  above  companies. 

In  witness  whereof,  I  have  signed  my  name  and  affixed  the  seal 
of  the  territory. 

Done  at  Oregon  City,  this  first  day  of  April,  1848. 

A  paper  in  Lee's  handwriting,  but  without  signature, 
seems  to  have  been  written  to  stimulate  enlistment,  as  fol 
lows: — 

He  asks  permission,  as  one  who  has  as  little  to  defend  in  Oregon 
as  any  one,  to  make  "  an  appeal  to  your  good  sense  arid  patriotism, 
in  behalf  of  your  own  interests,  your  families,  your  prosperity,  your 
own  personal  safety.  I  should  do  violence  to  my  own  sense  of  duty, 
as  well  as  injustice  to  my  country,  were  I  to  suppress  the  conviction 
which  circumstances  and  facts  have  forced  upon  me  of  our  common 
danger,  and  of  the  absolute  necessity  of  an  immediate,  united,  and 
vigorous  action  on  your  part  to  secure  the  safety  of  the  settlements 
by  holding  the  enemy  in  check  abroad,  which  can  only  be  done  by 
reenforcing  and  sustaining  the  troops  now  in  the  field.  No  country 
ever  furnished  a  volunteer  corps  of  braver,  better  soldiers  than 
Oregon  has  done ;  but  these  men  feel  themselves  entitled  to,  at 
least,  the  means  of  defending  the  lives  and  property  of  you  who 
remain  in  quiet  and  ease  at  home,  as  long  as  you  have  the  power  to 
furnish  those  means.  *  *  *  It  is  confidently  believed  that  could 


you  see  the  present  condition  of  the  soldiers  now  in  the  field, —  a 
part  of  them  three  hundred  miles  from  their  homes  and  families,  in 
the  heart  of  an  enemy's  country, — without  a  mouthful  of  bread, 
many  of  them  almost  naked,  and  the  whole  of  them  without  the 
powder  and  lead  to  defend  their  own  lives  against  the  attack  of 
hostile  forces  within  fifty  miles  of  them,  you  would  rise  up  to  a  man 
and  render  such  assistance  as  is  in  your  power  to  furnish  them  — 
the  absolute  necessaries  of  life,  more  than  which  they  do  not  ask  — 
without  which  they  must  return  to  the  settlements.  Let  this  truth 
tell  upon  the  good  sense  of  every  man  —  we  must  conquer  the 
enemy  in  their  own  country  or  fight  them  in  our  midst.  Although 
many  of  the  tribes  profess  friendship  and  refrain  from  hostilities 
while  the  seat  of  war  is  kept  in  their  midst,  where  they  have  much 
to  lose,  that  friendship  will  only  last  while  it  serves  their  own 
interest,  the  very  principle  which  will  prompt  them  to  join  the 
enemy  the  moment  there  is  the  least  hope  of  victory  on  their  side 
—  for  then  it  would  be  as  necessary  for  them  to  be  friends  to  the 
enemy  as  it  now  is  to  be  friends  to  us.  Whenever,  therefore,  the 
seat  of  war  is  moved  to  the  settlements  where  we  have  all  to  lose 
and  they  to  gain,  we  will  have  ten  times  their  present  numbers  to 
contend  with." 

The  combined  effort  of  the  regimental  officers,  the  gov 
ernor,  and  the  ladies,  had  the  effect  to  arouse  the  people  to 
fresh  activity.  Meetings  were  held  in  several  counties, 
and  about  two  hundred  and  fifty  men  enlisted.  Polk  and 
Clackamas  raised  one  company,  J.  W.  Nesmith,  captain; 
Linn,  one  company,  William  P.  Pugh,  captain;  Yamhill 
and  Tualatin,  one  company,  William  J.  Martin,  captain. 
Clatsop  county  sent  a  few  volunteers.  The  means  to  equip 
was  raised  by  subscription.2 

Popular  as  was  the  war,  it  was  a  difficult  matter  putting 
another  battalion  in  the  field.  The  commissariat  had  at 
no  time  been  maintained  without  great  exertion  on  the 
part  of  its  officers,  and  often  great  sacrifices  on  the  part  of 
the  people.  The  commissary-general's  sworn  and  bonded 

-  The  muster  rolls  do  not  always  show  where  credit  is  due.  H.  J.  Peterson  of  Linn 
raised  a  company,  which  proceeded  to  Portland,  in  April^  where  it  was  probably  ab 
sorbed  by  the  reorganization  of  the  battalion.  Granville  H.  Baber  raised  a  company 
also,  in  Linn.  As  first  organized,  he  was  captain ;  Jeremiah  Driggs,  first  lieutenant ; 
J.  M.  McConnell  and  Isaac  Thompson,  sergeants.  The  men  from  Clatsop  were  8. 
B.  Hall,  D.  H.  Kinder,  John  Richey,  R.  W.  Morrison,  and  N.  H.  Everman :  Oregon 
Spectator,  May  4,  1848. 

THE   GAY  USE  WAR.  199 

agents  in.  every  county  had  from  the  beginning  strained 
every  nerve  to  collect  arms,  ammunition,  and  clothing,  for 
which  they  paid  in  government  bonds  or  loan  commisson- 
ers'  scrip.  As  there  was  very  little  actual  cash  in  circula 
tion,3  and  as  the  common  currency  of  Oregon  had  been 
wheat,  it  had  come  to  pass  that  "wheat  notes"  had  been 
received  in  place  of  cash  as  contributions  to  the  war  funds. 
The  wheat  thus  collected  could  be  sold  for  cash  or  its 
equivalent  at  Vancouver,  and  thus,  after  passing  through 
the  circumlocution  office,  this  awkward  currency,  which 
had  to  be  gathered  up,  stored  in  warehouses,  hauled  to  boat 
landings,  set  adrift  upon  the  Wallamet,  hauled  around  the 
falls  at  Oregon  City,  and  there  reloaded  for  Vancouver,  was 
there  at  length  exchanged  for  real  money  or  goods. 

The  collection  of  provisions  for  the  consumption  of  the 
army  was  another  matter,  and  not  less  burdensome.  The 
agents  could  refuse  no  lot  of  provisions  because  it  was 
small  or  miscellaneous,  nor  reject  any  articles  of  use  to 
soldiers  because  they  were  not  of  the  best.4  Lead  was 
purchased  in  any  quantities  from  one  to  several  pounds, 
and  was  hard  to  find,5  all  that  was  in  the  country  being 
that  which  was  brought  across  the  plains  by  the  immi 
grations  for  use  upon  the  road.  Powder  and  percussion 
caps  were  obtained  in  the  same  way,  or  purchased  with 

•'!  When  the  commissioners  were  making  collections  in  Yamhill  county,  Dr.  James 
McBride  was  the  only  contributor  of  money,  to  the  amount  of  two  and  a  half 

4  James  Force,  commissary  agent  at  Salem,  in  a  letter  to  Palmer  in  January,  says 
he  has  succeeded  in  purchasing  but  six  saddles.    "The  tree  and  rigging  without 
stirrups  is  eight  dollars ;  with  stirrups  and  leathers,  nine  dollars ;  trail-ropes,  three 
dollars."    He  bought  four  hundred  and  eighty-nine  pounds  of  pork  at  eight  cents ; 
two  hundred  pounds  at  ten  cents  per  pound  ;  five  hundred  and  seventy-two  pounds 
or'  bacon  at  twelve  and  a  half  cents ;  ninety-nine  pounds  cheese  at  twenty  cents  ; 
seventy-four  bushels  of  wheat  at  one  dollar  per  bushel ;   five  bushels  of  wheat  at  one 
dollar  per  bushel ;   one  pack-saddle,  four  dollars ;   two  parflaches,  five  dollars ;   six 
pairs  saddle-bags,  six  dollars.     He  paid  four  dollars  per  day  for  teams  to  haul  four 
hundred  and  fifty  pounds  each  to  Butteville,  where  the  goods  were  transferred  to 
boats :  Oregon  Archives,  MS.  883.     In  another  letter  he  complains  that  the  only  cooper 
at  Salem  refused  to  sell  barrels  for  any  funds  but  cash,  and  he  had  no  means  of 
getting  even  the  sixty  bushels  of  wheat  purchased  for  flouring,  to  the  mill,  as  the 
farmers  had  no  sacks.    "I  think,"  he  says,  "I  can  raise  at  this  point  one  hundred 
pounds  of  flour,  and  some  pork."     Oregon  Archives,  MS.  884. 

5  Oregon  Archives,  MS.  864. 


wheat  notes  at  Vancouver.  As  commissioners'  funds  grew 
scarce,  on  the  first  call,  some  of  the  agents  asked  leave  to 
"press"  the  wheat  of  certain  farmers  whose  granaries  were 
better  filled  than  their  neighbors;0  and  on  the  second  call, 
leave  was  asked  to  press  seven  thousand  bushels,  equiva 
lent  to  seven  thousand  dollars,  from  the  granary  of  the 
Hudson's  Bay  Company  at  Champoeg,  because  "  the  means 
are  absolutely  not  in  the  hands  of  the  American  citizens, 
and  without  sufficient  power  or  persuasion  to  raise  them 
from  that  source,  they  cannot  be  obtained.7 

On  the  commissary-general  fell  the  responsibility  of 
deciding  these  matters,  and  it  was  a  burden  hard  to  be 
borne  amidst  a  multitude  of  advisors  and  critics.  Palmer 
was  a  man  of  extraordinary  resolve,  yet  he  was  not 
always  certain  of  the  wisdom  of  pursuing  the  only  methods 
left  him  to  feed  and  furnish  the  army,  and  just  at  this 
critical  time  he  was  led  to  abandon  the  wheat  loan  as  a 
means  of  raising  funds.  A  letter  written  to  him  by  Jesse 
Applegate  at  this  crisis  in  affairs  throws  a  flood  of  light 
upon  the  subject,  and  for  this  reason  it  is  incorporated  in 
the  text: — 

POLK  COUNTY,  Oregon,  27th  April,  1848. 

DEAR  SIR:  I  have  just  had  an  interview  with  Mr.  Fulkerson, 
who  informs  me  that  you  have  become  distrustful  of  the  policy  of 
the  wheat  loan,  and  have  instructed  him  to  cease  operations  in  that 
matter  whenever  he  had  raised  an  amount  sufficient  to  secure  to  me 
payment  for  the  beef  cattle  he  purchased  of  me  for  the  use  of  the 
army.  As  I  do  not  wish  that  you  should  assume  a  responsibility  on 
my  account  that  you  deem  unsafe,  I  have  taken  this  opportunity  to 
inform  you  that  unless  the  plan  of  taking  up  wheat  notes  is  made  a 
general  practice,  I  do  not  wish  any  notes  taken  up  for  my  exclusive 

I  am  myself  in  favor  of  raising  a  revenue  by  direct  taxation,  as  I 

6  A.  J.  Hembree  of  Yamhill  county,  in  February,  mentions  having  pressed  one 
hundred  and  eighty-seven  and  one-half  bushels  of  wheat  belonging  to  Jesse  Apple- 
gate  ;  also  eleven  bushels  from  Samuel  Campbell,  fifteen  bushels  from  Andrew 
Smith,  fifteen  from  Pleasant  Armstrong,  seventeen  from  Ed.  Stone,  six  and  one-half 
from  A.  Biers,  and  one  hundred  and  thirty -five  bushels  from  Ben  Williams  :  Oregon 
Archives,  MS.  981. 

"  C.  W.  Cooke,  April  10,  1848.  He  adds,  "  Hembree  has  raised  some  powder,  lead, 
and  caps,  a  little  cash,  and  about  forty  bushels  of  wheat ":  Oregon  Archives,  MS.  946. 

THE   CAY  USE  WAR.  201 

consider  that  method  as  the  only  fair  and  equitable  plan  of  dis 
tributing  the  burden  of  this  unlucky  war  among  the  people  who  are 
equally  interested  in  its  maintenance.  But  as  the  wheat  plan  has 
been  partially  tried,  and  has  been  favorably  received  by  the  people, 
and  as  it  is  the  immediate  offspring  of  the  commander  in  the  field, 
and  has  the  approval  of  the  executive  and  the  loan  commissioners, 
I  do  not  think  it  should  be  lightly  abandoned.  Because  those  who 
have  given  notes  already  have  done  so  under  the  supposition  that 
all  would  be  called  to  do  the  same  ;  that  it  was  actually  a  tax,  with 
out  the  odious  feature  of  compulsion,  and  they  are  the  more  willing 
to  contribute  in  this  shape  to  the  wants  of  the  government,  as  it  is 
anticipated  by  the  people  generally  that  ultimately  a  tax  will  be 
levied  upon  them  against  which  their  voluntary  contributions  will 
be  an  offset.  If  the  plan  is  now  abandoned  those  who  have  given 
notes  will  have  just  cause  to  complain  that  they  have  been  induced 
to  do  so  under  a  misunderstanding,  and  will  not  be  likely  to  incom 
mode  themselves  much  in  the  discharge  of  such  obligations. 

As  it  regards  the  increased  responsibility  to  yourself  by  adhering 
to  this  plan  of  raising  means,  I  cannot  for  my  life  see  that  you  can 
any  more  suffer  in  pocket  or  character  than  from  any  other  which 
you  have  been  forced  to  adopt  in  the  successful  discharge  of  your 
duties.  You  know  that  a  rigid  construction  of  your  duties  as  com 
missary-general  limits  you  to  the  bare  investment  of  the  means 
placed  in  your  hands;  but  our  pecuniary  embarrassments  have  been 
such  that  you  have  been  forced  to  supply  the  army  without  means, 
and  while  your  opponents  cry  out  that  by  seizing  provisions,  bor 
rowing  money,  and  buying  property  as  commissary-general,  your 
acts  were  extra  official;  yet  by  taking  this  responsibility  alone,  you 
have  so  far  been  able  to  furnish  the  army  and  keep  them  in  the 
field;  and  by  your  great  exertions  and  perseverance  in  these  unlaw 
ful  acts  you  have  gained  that  good  will  of  the  people  they  so  much 

The  office-seekers,  of  course,  wish  your  downfall  and  will  com 
pass  it  if  they  can;  not  because  they  have  discovered  faults  in  you, 
but  on  the  contrary,  they  fear  the  people  may  duly  appreciate  the 
ability  you  have  displayed,  and  the  great  personal  sacrifices  you 
have  made  in  their  service;  and  if  they  can,  by  alarming  your  fears, 
drive  you  to  abandon  a  policy  which  so  far  has  been  successful,  and 
obtain  for  you  the  character  of  vascillation  and  uncertainty,  they 
will  succeed  in  their  object,  which  is  to  deprive  you  of  the  confi 
dence  of  the  people,  and  which  once  lost  is  scarcely  ever  regained. 

If  you  have  the  right  to  make  purchases  and  receive  property, 
your  right  to  receive  money  or  property  of  any  kind  that  can  be 
made  available  to  the  use  of  the  army  is  certainly  unquestionable; 
so  I  think  the  only  question  with  you  to  decide  is  as  to  the  policy 
of  the  measure.  If  you  think  it  will  be  for  the  good  of  the  commu 
nity  to  adopt  it,  carry  it  out  to  the  fullest  extent;  if  you  decide 


against  its  utility  abandon  it  at  once,  and  undo,  if  you  can,  what 
has  been  done  in  the  matter.  For  my  part,  I  would  not  touch  a 
note  obtained  from  my  neighbor  for  my  exclusive  benefit,  and  at 
the  expense  of  the  disgrace  of  a  friend. 

Sincerely  your  well-wisher,  JESSE  APPLEGATE.8 

It  is  hardly  necessary  to  enter  more  into  detail  concern 
ing  the  difficulties  that  heset  men  holding  office  under  a 
provisional  government  without  a  treasury,  or  the  material 
out  of  which  government  funds  might  grow ;  and  we  might 
go  far  to  find  a  nobler  expression  of  true  patriotism  or  sus 
taining  manly  friendship  than  Applegate's  letter.  Yet 
there  were  commissary  agents  and  men  in  the  army  who 
were  as  staunch  patriots,  if  not  as  able  statesmen,  as  the 
author  of  this  document. 

Lee  was  not  ignorant  that  those  whom  Applegate  calls 
office-seekers  were  opposed  to  his  appointment,  as  his  cor 
respondence  with  the  governor  shows,  and  he  was  reluctant 
to  accept  it,  but  was  overruled  by  his  friends.  When  he 
had  accepted  he  was  in  danger  of  being  prevented  from 
doing  anything  by  the  ill  success  of  the  commissary's 
agents.  Again  the  watchful  Applegate  put  his  shoulder 
to  the  wheel.  He  says,  in  a  letter  to  Lee,  April  sixteenth : — 

I  take  this  opportunity  to  speak  three  words  to  you.  I  find  some 
of  the  friends  of  the  former  commander  will  do  everything  they  can 
to  injure  you.  Never  mind  them.  If  you  can  bring  the  Indians  to 
an  engagement,  and  make  a  short  campaign,  you  will  not  only  serve 
your  country  in  the  best  possible  manner,  but  place  yourself  beyond 
the  reach  of  envy.  To  enable  you  to  do  this  I  would  make  almost 
any  sacrifice.  I  found  Fulkerson  had  got  but  one  beef  to  feed  you 
up,  and  you  know  Palmer  had  no  other  resource  for  it.  I  have  sent 
fifteen  beeves,  and  will  give  the  last  hoof  I  have  rather  than  your 
movements  should  be  crippled  for  want  of  means.  I  found  no 
money  at  home,  nor  could  get  any  at  O'Neil's.  I  have  sent  four 
beeves  by  Tetherow  to  be  sold,  and  the  proceeds,  except  ten  dol 
lars  and  twenty-five  cents,  to  be  given  to  you  on  my  private  ac 
count.  *  *  *  It  is  needless  to  say  I  wish  you  success.9 

Lee's  trouble  did  not  end  when  he  finally  repaired  to 

8  Oregon  Archives.  MS.  866. 

9  Oregon  Archives,  MS.  863. 

THE   CAY  USE  WAIL  203 

The  Dalles  in  his  new  dignity  of  colonel.  Officers  were 
resigning  and  men  deserting;  the  former,  because  their 
private  interests  were  suffering,  or  because  they  had  some 
personal  grievance;  and  the  latter  —  a  small  number — to 
enrich  themselves  by  the  timely  appropriation  of  Indian 
horses,  which  they  stealthily  drove  into  the  Wallamet 
valley  over  the  Mount  Hood  road  as  soon  as  the  spring 
was  far  enough  advanced. 

The  company  under  Captain  Joseph  M.  Garrison,  which 
was  enlisted  in  March  to  reenforce  Colonel  Gilliam,  had 
proceeded  as  far  as  The  Dalles  before  that  officer's  death 
became  known,  and  had  been  instructed  to  remain  at  that 
post  for  its  better  protection ;  but  owing  to  domestic  affairs 
Captain  Garrison  was  compelled  to  return  home,  leaving 
his  company  under  the  command  of  the  first  lieutenant, 
A.  E.  Garrison,  who  was  in  doubt  about  the  captain's  re 
turn.  Captain  William  Martin  resigned  his  command 
about  the  last  of  April,  his  lieutenants  with  him,  and 
about  a  dozen  of  his  men.  An  election  for  new  officers 
resulted  in  the  choice  of  G.  W.  Burnett  for  captain. 

These  changes  so  soon  after  his  appointment  to  the  col 
onelcy  annoyed  Lee,  as  perhaps  they  were  in  some  in 
stances  intended  to  do.  He  reorganized  as  rapidly  as 
possible,  preparing  to  take  the  field,  leaving  Fort  Lee  un 
der  the  command  of  Brevet  Captain  R.  W.  Morrison,  who 
was  ordered  to  observe  the  most  strict  military  rules,  no 
Indian  being  permitted  to  enter  the  fort  after  sunset,  ex 
cept  upon  special  business,  and  under  guard.  When  chiefs 
came  or  sent  on  friendly  missions,  they  were  to  be  well 
treated,  but  not  given  any  information  which  could  be 
turned  to  the  prejudice  of  the  army.  He  was  to  remem 
ber  that  Indians  were  deceitful  and  treacherous  exceedingly; 
to  make  them  no  promise  he  could  not  meet  in  good  faith, 
nor  utter  any  threat  he  was  unable  to  execute.  He  was  to 
look  after  the  morals  as  well  as  the  military  improvement 
of  his  men,  and  "  never  allow  the  soldiers  to  equalize  them 
selves  with  the  Indians."10 

10  Oregon  Archives,  MS.  2009. 


On  the  second  of  May,  Lee  wrote  to  Adjutant- General 
Lovejoy :  "  We  leave  tomorrow  for  Fort  Waters,  with  a 
pack  horse  to  each  mess,  and  five  provision  and  one  ord 
nance  wagon.  Des  Chutes  and  John  Day  rivers  are  both 
to  be  ferried  in  small  canoes,  which  will  greatly  retard  our 

On  the  fifth,  and  before  Lee's  arrival  at  Fort  Waters, 
Captain  Maxon  wrote  to  Lovejoy  that  he  had  come  from 
The  Dalles  in  eight  days  without  any  serious  loss  —  one 
wagon  broken  down,  one  horse  lost  by  breaking  his  leg, 
and  one  by  running  away,  but  three  good  horses  belong 
ing  to  the  regiment  were  found  on  the  road.  "The  signs 
for  a  fight  were  very  encouraging  after  passing  Willow 
creek,  but  the  devils  feared  to  attack  us,  so  we  lost  the 
glory.  *  *  We  are  here  doing  nothing.  I  have 

been  very  anxious  to  go  after  the  Indians  for  several  days, 
but  am  overruled.  Some  think  we  are  not  able  to  cope 
with  them.  I  believe,  with  plenty  of  ammunition  we  can 
whip  a  thousand  easy,  and  am  willing  to  try  it  any  time, 
rather  than  the  murderers  should  get  away.  The  mur 
derers  are  on  Snake  river,  about  seventy-five  miles  away- 
We  have  already  lost  every  horse  almost,  and  I  fear  the 
consequences  now.  A  majority  seem  determined  to  await 
Colonel  Lee's  arrival.  I  am  for  walking  into  them  at  once."1' 
In  a  postscript  was  added  that  the  friendly  Cayuses  were 
"  mad  "  about  something ;  and  Peu-peu-mox-mox  "  very 
sulky  yet.  It  would  be  better  for  us  if  they  were  all  our 
open  enemies." 

Lieutenant-Colonel  Waters,  about  the  same  date,  wrote 
to  the  adjutant-general  that  on  a  late  inspection  of  the 
commissary  department  he  had  discovered  fraud  of  the 
basest  kind  had  been  practiced  upon  the  government  and 
tlie  army  by  citizens  of  the  Wallamet  valley.  Several 
barrels  of  flour,  so  laboriously  brought  there  by  Max  on 's 
company,  proved  to  be  mixed  with  coarse  shorts  in  the 

n  Oregon  Archives,  MS.  936. 
12  Oregon  Archives,  MS.  853. 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  205 

proportion  of  seven  pounds  of  shorts  to  five  of  flour,  "and 
reel  as  a  fox  tail  at  that."     Other  barrels  had  good  flour 
for  six  inches  at  either  end,  and  fine  shorts  all  the  way, 
between.     The  volunteers  preferred,  he  said,  if  it  werc\ 
necessary  for  them  to  accept  more  shorts  than  flour,  to  • 
have  them  put  up  in  separate  parcels.13     And  the  wheat  J 
for  this  flour  had  been  subscribed  to  the  army  funds  by  I 
the  people,  and  ground  in  the  governor's  mills!  \ 

Waters  also  wrote  to  Colonel  Lee,  May  fifth,  that  the 
Indians  had  recently  "changed  their  sentiments"  toward 
the  Americans.  Tauitowe,  Otter-skin  Shirt,  Sticcas,  Ca- 
maspelo,  with  their  people,  had  returned  to  the  Umatilla, 
and  professed  friendship,  but  he  distrusted  them.  The 
plains  in  that  direction  were  covered  with  their  stock,  and 
among  them  he  believed  the  stock  of  the  murderers  was 
herded.  Welaptulekt,  whom  he  suspected  of  treachery, 
had  been  a  prisoner  at  the  fort  for  ten  days,  and  would 
be  detained  there  until  the  colonel's  arrival.  About  one 
hundred  Nez  Perees,  and  several  chiefs,  were  at  Waiilatpu 
awaiting  his  arrival.  They  desired  to  have  a  talk  with 
the  proper  authorities,  and  have  a  head  chief  appointed  in 
place  of  Ellis,  who,  with  sixty  of  his  people,  had  died  of 
the  measles  while  on  a  buffalo  hunt.  The  Cayuses  were 
angry  with  the  Nez  Perees,  and  only  the  night  previous 
had  threatened  one  of  them  with  death  at  the  fort  gate 
for  fighting  with  the  Bostons.14 

This  was  the  state  of  affairs  when  Colonel  Lee  reached 
Waiilatpu  about  the  ninth  of  May.  Here,  as  might  have 
been  foreseen,  the  men  differed  in  their  choice  of  a  leader, 
and  Lee,  who  had  accepted  his  promotion  over  Waters 
conditionally,  hastened  to  return  his  commission,15  and 
that  of  his  adjutant,  C.  W.  Cooke.  "I  find,"  said  he,  "the 
regiment  greatly  improved  under  command  of  Lieutenant- 

"  Oregon  Archives,  MS.  910. 
'*  Oregon  Archives,  MS.  1021. 

15  You  are  aware  of  the  manner  in  which  I  accepted  the  appointment,  and  will 
not  be  surprised  to  see  the  commission  returned  :  Oregon  Archives,  MS.  998, 


Colonel  Waters.  I  have  great  confidence  in  him,  and 
doubt  not  the  troops  will  find  him  competent  to  the  task 
before  him.  To  prevent  any  discord  or  rupture 'in  the 
regiment,  at  the  request  of  the  officers  and  men,  I  have 
consented  to  act  as  lieutenant- colonel  during  the  approach 
ing  campaign."  Waters  had  already  been  sworn  in,  as 
appears  from  his  letter  of  the  fifteenth  of  May  to  the 
adjutant-general,  in  which  he  says,  that  "on  Colonel  Lee's 
arrival  at  this  post  he  delivered  up  his  command  to  me. 
*  *  Colonel  Lee,  at  the  request  of  almost  every  man 
in  the  regiment,  has  consented  to  act  as  lieutenant-colonel. 
The  prospects  are  now  fair  before  us,  and  I  trust  we  will 
soon  be  on  our  way  to  the  valley.  I  intend  to  start  in 
pursuit  of  our  enemies  in  a  few  days,  and  doubt  not  that 
we  will  be  able  to  accomplish  our  end." 

Very  soon  after  his  return  from  Waiilatpu  in  March, 
Palmer  had  resigned  the  superintendency  of  Indian  affairs, 
as  being,  jointly  with  his  other  duties,  too  burdensome; 
and  Governor  Abernethy  when  he  made  Lee  colonel,  per 
suaded  him  to  act  also  os  Indian  superintendent,  a  duty 
for  which  he  was  well  prepared  by  acquaintance  with  its 
requirements,  having  assisted  both  Dr.  White  and  the 
governor  in  controlling  the  interior  tribes.  The  governor's 
instructions  to  Lee  in  this  capacity  ran  as  follows: — 

EXECUTIVE  OFFICE,  OREGON  CITY,  10th  April,  1848. 
SIB  :  I  would  refer  you  to  my  instructions  to  the  commissioners 
and  superintendent  of  Indian  affairs  under  date  of  third  February 
last.  The  adjutant-general  will  furnish  you  with  copies  of  instruc 
tions  sent  to  Colonel  Gilliam.  In  addition,  I  would  remark  should 
the  murderers  be  scattered,  and  you  think  it  unadvisable  to  follow 
them,  in  making  a  treaty  with  the  tribes  keep  in  view  the  safety  of 
the  immigrants  and  the  people  of  this  valley.  The  only  way  in 
which  this  can  be  done  wilt  be  by  binding  the  chiefs  to  protect 
them,  giving  them  to  understand  that  if  Americans  are  molested  in 
person  or  property,  that  we  shall  hold  them  responsible.  Impress 
on  their  minds  the  fact  that  the  murderers  are  few,  and  their16  people 
many.  You  will  get  all  the  information  you  can  respecting  the 

10  Our  people  appears  to  be  meant. 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  207 

murderers,  where  located,  and  their  probable  intentions.  I  think 
Joe  Lewis  and  others  have  gone  to  the  Mormons.  A  few  men,  well 
selected,  might  follow  them,  and  by  sending  on  one  or  two  men 
into  the  city  accompanied  by  some  of  the  Fort  Hall  people,  they 
might  be  arrested.  I  leave  this,  however,  to  your  own  judgment. 
Hoping  that  you  may  be  successful  in  bringing  thte  war  to  a 
close,  I  remain,  your  obedient  servant, 

Governor  of  Oregon  Territory. 
Colonel  H.  A.  G.  Lee, 

First  Regiment  Oregon  Riflemen. 

Lee  learned  from  Maxon  at  The  Dalles  that  the  Yakima 
chiefs  had  paid  the  major  a  visit  to  express  their  friendly 
feelings.     They  said,  "We  do  not  want  to  fight  the  Ameri 
cans,  nor  the  French;  neither  do  the  Spokanes,  a  neigh 
boring  tribe  to  us.     Last  fall  the  Cayuses  told  us  they  were^ 
about  to  kill  the  whites  at  Dr.  Whitman's.     We  told  them\ 
that  was  wrong,  which  made  them  mad  at  us;  and  when 
they  killed  them  they  came  to  us  and  wished  us  to  fight ' 
the  whites,  which  we  refused.    We  love  the  whites ;  but  they ' 
say, '  if  you  do  not  help  us  to  fight  the  whites  when  we  have  I 
killed  them  we  will  come  and  kill  you.'     This  made  us  cry,/ 
but  we  told  them  we  would  not  fight,  but  if  they  desired 
to  kill  us  they  might.     We  should  feel  happy  to  know 
that  we  die  innocently."     To  these  friendly  professions 
Maxon  replied  with  the  assurance  of  the  American  pur 
pose  to  make  war  only  on  the  murderers  and  those  who 
harbored  them.     "We  that  fight,"  said  he,  "do  not  care 
how  many  bad  people  we  have  to  fight.     The  Americans 
and  Hudson's  bay  people  are  the  same  as  one,  and  you 
will  get  no  more  ammunition  until  the  war  is  at  a  close." 

The  news  of  a  change  in  the  superintendency  having 
reached  Fort  Waters  and  the  Indians  in  advance  of  the 
reinforcement,  was  the  occasion  of  the  presence  at  Waii- 
latpu  of  a  large  body  of  Nez  Perces.  So  impatient  were 
they  that  an  express  was  sent  to  meet  Lee  at  John  Day 
river  with  a  request  for  a  council,  in  response  to  which  he 
hastened  forward,  arriving  at  the  fort  in  advance  of  the 


new  companies.  Richard  was  appointed  high  chief  on 
account  of  his  superior  attainments  and  good  character; 
and  Meaway,  a  very  peaceable  man,  as  war  chief.  These 
appointments  were  not  objected  to  at  the  time,  only  quietly 
acquiesced  in;  but  later  Richard  was  assassinated,  as  it 
was  thought,  by  a  political  enemy,  and  another  high  chief 

The  affairs  of  the  Nez  Perces  being  settled,  a  council 
was  held  with  the  Walla  Wallas  and  the  Cayuses  who 
had  returned  to  the  Umatilla.  They,  seeing  that  compa 
nies  of  armed  Americans  continued  to  come  from  the 
Wallainet,  and  being  informed  of  the  expected  arrival 
of  the  United  States  mounted  rifle  regiment,  on  its  way 
as  it  was  supposed,  from  Fort  Leavenworth,  were  humble 
accordingly.  "The  friendship  of  the  Indians,"  wrote  Col 
onel  Waters,  "increases  with  our  numbers."  Even  Peu- 
peu-mox-mox,  who  had  deeply  resented  the  act  of  the 
legislature  withholding  ammunition  from  the  Indians 
without  distinction  of  tribe  or  individual,  and  who  had 
threatened  to  join  the  murderers  in  retaliation,  confessed 
his  shame  at  having  done  so. 

"I  told  him,  and  all  that  were  present,"  wrote  Lee,  "that 
\ve  were  bound  to  hold  this  country  until  the  murderers 
were  punished,  the  stolen  property  returned,  and  that 
which  had  been  destroyed  paid  for;  and  then  asked  them 
what  they  were  going  to  do;  whether  they  would  try  to 
settle  the  matter  and  let  us  go  home  about  our  business, 
and  leave  them  to  theirs,  or  would  they  hold  off  as  they 
had  done,  and  leave  us  here  to  hold  the  country  with  our 

It  was  certainly  not  an  easy  question  to  answer.  The 
conditions  were  as  hard  as  they  were  unavoidable,  for  if 
they  complied  with  the  demands  of  the  Americans  they 
should  have  to  fight  among  themselves,  and  if  they  refused 
they  would  be  compelled  to  fight  the  Americans  or  leave 
their  country.  Even  in  the  matter  of  property,  they  found 
they  were  likely  to  be  impoverished  by  an  attempt  to  pay 


the  Cay  usev  debt.  "I  showed  them,"  says  Lee,  "the  bill  of 
articles  taken  at  this  place,  and  those  taken  from  immi 
grants  along  the  road,  as  also  at  Barlow's  gate,  and  told 
them  we  would  forget  nothing."  Nothing  more  definite 
resulted  from  the  council  than  professions  of  a  desire  for 
peace  and  friendship. 

Meanwhile,  preparations  were  making  at  the  fort  for  a 
pursuit  of  the  murderers,  who  were  believed  to  have  taken 
refuge  in  the  Nez  Peree  country;  and  on  the  seventeenth 
of  May  over  four  hundred  men  set  out  upon  the  march  to 
the  Clearwater.  They  encamped  that  night  on  the  Coppei, 
and  on  the  following  morning  Lee  was  detached  with 
Captain  Thompson  and  one  hundred  and  twenty-one  men 
to  proceed  to  Red  Wolf's  camp  at  Snake  river  crossing  to 
be  ready  to  intercept  the  flight  of  the  fugitives  to  the 
mountains,  while  the  main  force  would  march  to  the  river 
at  the  mouth  of  the  Palouse,  and  crossing  there,  prevent 
them  from  escaping  down  to  the  Columbia. 

Several  Palouse  chiefs  had  offered  their  services  in  fer 
rying  the  army  across,  but  were  nowhere  to  be  found  when 
the  troops  arrived,  Major  Magone  with  four  men  being 
compelled  to  cross  Snake  river  on  a  raft  to  search  for  the 
means  of  transporting  men  and  baggage  to  the  north  side 
of  that  then  turbulent  stream.  A  day  was  spent  in  find 
ing  the  Indians,  and  a  day  and  a  half  more  in  effecting  a 
crossing,  swimming  the  horses  and  ferrying  the  troops. 
At  noon  on  the  twenty-first  they  were  once  more  under 
way,  being  piloted  by  an  Indian  who  promised  to  bring 
them  to  the  camp  of  Tiloukaikt. 

On  the  following  day  a  messenger  arrived  from  the 
Chernekane  mission,  bringing  a  letter  from  Mr.  Eells,  to 
whom  Colonel  Waters  had  written  to  inquire  as  to  the 
disposition  of  the  Spokane  tribe.  According  to  the  infor 
mation  thus  gained  they  were  not  altogether  in  harmony, 
although  they  did  not  pretend  to  excuse  the  murderers. 
Forty-three  of  the  tribe  accompanied  the  courier,  who 
pointed  out  to  Waters  where  Tiloukaikt's  cattle  were 



grazing,  and  offered  to  bring  them  in.  With  the  latter 
came  two  Nez  Perces,  thought  to  be  spies,  who  informed 
him  that  Tiloukaikt  had  fled  to  the  mountains,  but  that 
the  greater  portion  of  his  stock  was  being  herded  by  a  few 
Indians  near  Snake  river,  and  could  easily  be  captured. 
Major  Magone  was  directed  to  bring  it  in,  and  to  capture 
any  Indian  who  behaved  suspiciously. 

Probably  there  was  never  an  Indian  war  in  which, 
under  so  great  provocation,  the  men  behaved  with  more' 
humanity  towards  the  enemy  than  in  the  war  of  the  early 
settlers  of  Oregon  with  the  Cay  uses.  Now  and  then,  how 
ever,  some  impetuous  or  revengeful  volunteer,  or  officer 
desiring  to  distinguish  himself,  construed  his  orders  to  suit 
his  sentiment  on  the  occasion,  and  this  seemed  to  have 
occurred  on  Major  Magone's  errand  after  Tiloukaikt's 
stock,  for  the  flight  of  a  frightened  savage,  running  away 
from  his  natural  enemy,  the  white  man,  caused  a  squad  of 
troopers  to  pursue  him  to  kill,  rather  than  to  capture. 
According  to  Major  Magone's  report,  Baptiste  Dorion, 
himself  a  half-Indian,  son  of  the  Madam  Dorion  of  Irving's 
Astoria,  set  off  at  full  speed  without  orders,  followed  by 
several  others,  and  the  fleeing  Indian  was  killed  before 
the  major,  owing  to  his  having  a  poor  horse,  could  call  a 
halt.  The  fugitive  had  at  last  taken  refuge  in  a  canoe 
when  he  was  discovered  and  shot,  as  was  also  another 
Indian.  That  the  act  was  considered  unjustifiable,  is 
proven  by  the  notice  taken  of  the  incident  at  the  time. 

Magone  found  none  of  Tiloukaikt's  people,  but  only  a 
few  Columbia  river  Indians,  under  Beardy,  who  directed 
him  to  the  camp  of  Richard,  high  chief  of  the  Nez  Perces. 
Both  Beardy  and  Richard  assured  him  that  Tiloukaikt 
was  far  out  of  the  country  towards  Fort  Hall. 

Richard,  at  the  same  time,  informed  the  major  that  an 
express  had  gone  from  Lee  at  Lapwai  to  Colonel  Waters, 
carried  by  two  white  men  only,17  a  piece  of  news  which 

17  The  bearers  of  this  express  through  an  Indian  country  where  the  murderers 
were  still  supposed  to  be  lurking  were  C.  W.  Cooke  and  David  Guthrie. 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  211 

caused  him  to  hasten  his  return  to  the  main  command, 
with  such  of  Tiloukaikt's  stock  as  could  be  gathered  up 
without  loss  of  time,  and  much  to  the  dissatisfaction  of 
his  men,  who  were  out  of  all  patience  with  Indians  who 
professed  friendship,  yet  who  constantly  shielded  the  mur 
derers,  as  even  the  Nez  Perces  were  doing  by  allowing 
them  to  escape  through  their  country.  "I  would  have 
given  more  general  satisfaction  to  the  men  by  ordering 
them  to  wipe  from  the  face  of  existence  those  professed 
friendly  Indians,  without  distinction  or  mercy,"  he  said  in 
his  report,  and  hinted  that  only  obedience  to  orders  re 
strained  him  as  well  as  them. 

The  dispatch  from  Lee  stated  that  he  had  been  met  at 
Red  \yolfs  crossing  with  the  assurance  that  the  guilty 
Cayuses  had  fled,  leaving  behind  all  their  property,  some 
of  which  was  about  Lapwai;  that  he  had  gone  there  to 
collect  it  on  the  twenty-first,  and  had  remained  several 
days,  during  which  he  had  talked  with  the  Nez  Perces,  ex 
plaining  that  the  invasion  of  their  country  by  armed  men 
was  solely  with  the  object  of  arresting  the  Cayuses :  but  that 
since  they  were  not  to  be  found  he  should  take  possession 
of  their  property.  If  the  Nez  Perces  were  true  friends 
they  would  aid,  instead  of  concealing  anything  from  him 
which  would  forward  the  ends  of  justice.  To  this  they 
assented,  and  agreed  to  assist  in  driving  to  Waiilatpu  18 
the  Cayuse  stock,  which  amounted  to  one  hundred  and 
eighteen  horses  and  forty  head  of  neat  cattle.  Lee  desired 
further  orders,  and  was  directed  to  return  at  once  to  the 

18  There  seems  to  have  been  a  treaty  with  the  Xez  Perces  drawn  up  at  the  time  of 
Palmer's  visit  to  Waiilatpu  in  March,  which  promised  peace  and  friendship  towards 
the  Americans  ;  to  refrain  from  aiding  the  Cayuses,  or  from  giving  them  refuge  in 
their  territory ;  to  aid  the  Americans,  as  far  as  they  could  without  bloodshed,  in 
punishing  the  guilty  ;  and  to  respect  the  persons  and  property  of  such  white  men  as 
the  superintendent  should  send  to  reside  among  them. 

On  the  part  of  the  commissioners,  it  was  agreed  to  permit  no  white  men  to  settle 
upon  the  Nez  Perc6  lands,  except  such  as  just  named,  but  the  superintendent  was  to 
hear  their  complaints,  and  protect  them.  The  right  to  pass  through  each  other's 
country  was  to  be  maintained,  and  finally,  the  Americans  and  Nez  Perces  were  to  be 
friends  and  brothers. 

This  treaty  is  not  mentioned  in  the  report  of  the  proceedings  at  Waiilatpu,  though 
the  unsigned  draft  of  it  is  among  the  papers  of  the  provisional  government. 


main  command,  which  he  proceeded  to  do,  crossing  Snake 
river  in  boats  made  of  the  skin  lodges  of  the  Cayuses, 
abandoned  in  their  flight,  and  arriving  at  camp  about  the 

Before  leaving  Lapwai,  Lee's  command  offered  a  reward 
of  several  hundred  dollars  for  the  apprehension  of  the 
murderers,  or  any  two  of  the  principal  men;  or  half  of  the 
whole  for  any  one  of  them,  and  one-quarter  of  the  sum  for 
the  capture  and  delivery  of  certain  less  responsible  of  the 
murderers;  but  this  offer  produced  no  effect,  although  the 
Nez  Perces  appeared  to  be  in  earnest  in  promising  their 
best  efforts  to  bring  the  criminals  to  justice.  This  docu 
ment,  which  is  preserved  in  the  Oregon  archives,  is  inter 
esting  as  illustrating  the  poverty  and  patriotism  of  the 
volunteers: — 

CLEAR-WATER  CAMP,  23d  May,  1848. 

We,  the  undersignejl,  promise  to  pay  to  the  Nez  Percys  or  other 
Indians,  or  their  agent,  the  articles,  sums,  and  amounts  annexed  to 
our  names,  respectively,  for  the  capture  and  delivery  to  the  authori 
ties  of  Oregon  territory,  any  two  of  the  following  named  Indians, 
viz.,  Teloukikt,  Tamsucy,  Tamahas,  Joe  Lewis,  or  Edward  Telou- 
kikt ;  or  half  the  amount  for  any  one  of  them.  We  also  promise 
to  pay  one-fourth  of  the  amount  as  specified  above  for  the  capture 
and  delivery  of  any  one  of  the  following,  viz.,  Llou-Llou,  Pips, 
Frank  Escaloom,  Quiamashouskin,  Estools,  Showshow,  Pahosh, 
Cupup-Cupup,  or  any  other  engaged  in  the  massacre.  The  same  to 
be  paid  whenever  the  service  is  rendered,  and  the  fact  that  it  has 
been  rendered  established  :  Burrel  Davis,  two  blankets;  Edwin  F. 
Stone,  two  blankets,  four  shirts;  P.  F.  Thompson,  fifty  dollars  in 
goods;  Harrison  C.  Johnson,  two  blankets;  A.  K.  Fox,  one  blanket; 
James  Etchel,  one  blanket;  D.  B.  Matheny,  one  blanket,  one  shirt; 
Jeptha  Garrison,  two  shirts;  Wm.  A.  Culberson,  two  blankets;  Jesse 
Cadwaleder,  two  blankets;  Josiah  Nelson,  one  blanket,  one  shirt; 
Martin  F.  Brown,  two  blankets;  Isaac  Walgamot,  one  blanket; 
John  Eldridge,  one  blanket;  A.  S.  Wilton,  one  blanket;  J.  W. 
Downer,  one  blanket,  two  shirts;  Jacob  Grazer,  one  blanket;  Thos. 
J.  Jackson,  two  blankets,  two  shirts;  Clark  Rogers,  one  blanket; 
John  Scales,  one  blanket;  Hiram  Carnahan,  two  shirts;  John  Co- 
penhaver,  one  blanket,  two  shirts;  Isaiah  C.  Matheny,  one  blanket, 
one  shirt;  Benjamin  Taylor,  one  shirt;  M.  B.  Riggs,  one  blanket, 
two  shirts;  E.  C.  Dice,  five  shirts;  S.  E.  Elkins,  one  blanket;  J.  W. 


Burch,  two  blankets,  five  shirts;  M.  A.  Ford,  four  shirts;  J.  Butler, 
four  shirts;  John  Orchard,  four  blankets;  C.  W.  Cooke,  twelve 
shirts;  J.  J.  Tomerson,  one  blanket,  one  shirt;  John  Doran,  two 
blankets;  William  Rogers,  one  blanket,  one  shirt;  D.  D.  Dusking, 
two  blankets,  two  shirts;  F.  T.  McLentick,  five  shirks;  Wm.  Mc- 
Kee,  one  blanket;  John  McCord,  one  blanket;  J.  L.  Snook,  two 
blankets;  J.  Scudder,  one  blanket,  one  shirt;  R.  Mendenhall,  one 
blanket,  one  shirt;  John  Carlin,  one  blanket;  Wm.  Olds,  one  blanket, 
one  shirt;  Philip  Peters,  one  blanket,  one  shirt;  Laurence  Hall, 
fifty  dollars  in  goods;  A.  M.  Poe,  five  dollars  in  goods;  Jas.  R. 
Bean,  five  dollars  in  goods;  Jackson  Reynolds,  five  dollars  in  goods; 
Jason  Peters,  five  dollars  in  goods;  Franklin  Martin,  one  blanket; 
Robt.  Loughlin,  one  blanket;  Geo.  Frazier,  four  shirts;  James  M. 
Owen,  one  blanket,  one  shirt;  John  Menoia,  two  shirts;  Josiah 
Lowrey,  two  shirts;  J.  J.  Louk,  two  shirts;  G.  W.  Pibern,  two 
shirts;  R.  Christinan,  two  shirts;  Stephen  King,  one  blanket,  twq 
shirts;  John  McLosky,  one  blanket,  one  shirt;  Aaron  Cone,  two  shirts; 
Robert  Harman,  two  shirts;  Wm.  Hailey,  one  blanket,  two  shirts; 
Jas.  O.  Henderson,  one  blanket;  Fred.  Ketchum,  two  shirts;  Joel 
Welch,  four  shirts;  J.  G.  Fuller,  two  shirts;  J.  C.  Robinson,  two 
blankets;  F.  R.  Hill,  one  blanket;  Fred.  Paul,  wheat,  five  bushels; 
Peter  A.  Wice,  one  shirt;  Charles  Bolds,  one  blanket;  Jas.  E.  Alsop, 
one  blanket,  one  shirt;  Daniel  P.  Barnes,  one  blanket,  one  shirt; 
Henry  Coleman,  one  blanket;  Wm.  W.  Porter,  one  blanket,  one 
shirt;  A.  M.  Peak,  one  blanket;  W.  Holman,  one  blanket,  one  shirt; 
I.  N.  Gilbert,  two  dollars;  Fales  Howard,  one  shirt;  O.  S.  Thomas, 
one  shirt;  John  Monroe,  two  shirts.  Total,  one  hundred  and  twenty- 
five  dollars  in  goods  and  wheat;  blankets,  sixty-seven;  shirts,  one 
hundred  and  four. 

The  first  rough  draft  of  this  agreement  reads,  "We,  the  under 
signed,  pledge  ourselves  in  faith  and  honor  to  pay  to  the  Nez  Perces  or 
any  other  Indians  who  will  deliver,  at  Oregon  City,  Tiloukaikt  and 

Tamsuckie, blankets, shirts,  to  be  placed  in  the  hands  of  the 

superintendent  of  Indian  affairs, —  for  the  prompt  payment  of  the 
sums  affixed  to  our  names  we  consider  this  a  written  obligation." 
On  the  back  of  the  same  paper,  in  pencil,  is  the  result  of  a  vote  to 
sell  the  property  taken  from  the  Cay  uses :  Yeas  —  Hall,  Owens, 
Maxon,  Martin,  Pugh,  Shaw,  Nesmith,  Burnett,  Waters.  Nays  — 
Thompson,  and  Lee.  The  vote  on  being  reconsidered  stood,  not  to 
sell:  Nesmith,  Hall,  Thompson,  Burnett,  Martin,  Pugh.  To  sell: 
Maxon.  It  is  easy  to  see  Lee's  influence  in  the  matter.  It  almost 
always  prevailed:  See  Oregon  Archives,  MS.,  522. 

In  J.  Henri  Brown's  Political  History  of  Oregon  —  a  valuable 
contribution  to  the  •  historical  literature  of  the  state,  he  is  led,  no 
doubt,  by  the  failing  memory  of  the  men  of  '47,  into  the  error  of 
plufing  this  subscription  of  the  twenty-third  of  May,  at  Oregon 


City,  whereas  it  was  gotten  up  in  the  regiment  when  it  was  on  the 
Clearwater,  as  an  inducement  to  the  Nez  Percys  to  pursue  the 
Cayuses,  which  they  failed  to  do. 

It  was  by  this  time  evident  that  the  campaign  would 
have  to  be  brought  to  a  close,  even  without  the  capture  of 
the  murderers.  Summer  was  close  at  hand  when  the 
harvest  in  the  Wallamet  valley  must  be  gathered.  In  the 
summer,  too,  the  Cayuses  would  be  able  to  subsist  them 
selves  in  the  mountains,  scattering  to  every  point  of  the 
compass,  where  a  thousand  troops  could  not  overtake 
them.  Yet  the  campaign  had  not  been  without  results. 
As  long  as  only  a  few  men  remained  cooped  up  at  Fort 
Waters,  Tiloukaikt  made  bold  to  move  about  with  his 
herds  within  a  few  hours'  ride,  but  the  coming  of  the  last 
four  hundred  assured  him  that  the  Americans  were  going 
to  carry  out  their  intentions  and  drove  him,  a  fugitive, 
and  poor,  far  away  from  home. 

The  effect  upon  the  other  tribes  was  also  salutary.  The 
Nez  Perces  were  confirmed  in  their  friendl}7  disposition. 
The  Palouses,  although  treacherous  as  ever,  found  it  to 
their  interest  to  make  overtures  of  good  will;  and  the  chief 
of  the  Walla  Wallas  so  'far  forgot  his  grievances  as  to  take 
(upon  himself  to  hang  one  of  the  murderers  whom  he 
found  on  the  Yakima,  at  a  fishing  station ;  and  to  send 
word  to  McBean  that  he  was  in  pursuit  of  Thomas,  who 
murdered  the  miller  at  Dr.  Whitman's.  Although  these 
concessions  were  signs  of  fear  rather  than  of  love,  they 
were  accepted  by  the  commander-in-chief.  and  in  the  field, 
with  satisfaction. 

Having  become  convinced  that  to  remain  longer  in  the 
country  would  result  in  no  further  good,  and  was,  in  fact, 
becoming  daily  less  practicable  through  the  poverty  of  the 
commissary  department,  Colonel  Waters,  after  consulting 
with  his  officers,  decided  to  return  to  Waiilatpu.  Captains 
Thompson  and  Nesmith  were  directed  to  proceed  to  Lapwai 
for  the  purpose  of  removing  the  family  and  property  of 
the  Indian  agent,  Craig,  who  felt  unsafe  while  the  mur- 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  215 

derers  were  at  large.  These  arrived  at  camp  on  the 
twenty-ninth  of  May,  and  at  Fort  Waters  on  the  third  of 

The  missionaries,  Walker  and  Eells,  still  remained  at 
Fort  Colville  whither  they  had  gone  when  fighting  began 
in  the  Cayuse  country,  and  it  was  the  general  verdict  of 
the  army  that  they  ought  to  be  conducted  out  of  it  before 
the  troops  disbanded;  but  it  was  not  thought  quite  safe  to 
further  weaken  the  garrison  by  sending  two  companies  to 
Colville.  Major  Magone  offered  to  go  with  fifty  men  should 
that  number  come  forward  for  this  service,  or  with  any 
number  down  to  ten  men.  On  the  call  for  volunteers,  over 
one  hundred  offered,  but  only  fifty-five  were  accepted. 
With  this  force  the  Messrs.  Walker  and  Eells,  with  their 
wives  and  children,  and  a  Miss  Bewley,  sister  of  the  cap 
tive  of  that  name,  were  taken  safely  to  The  Dalles,  to 
which  post  the  army  was  already  on  the  march,19  having 
left  Waiilatpu  on  the  eighth  of  June.  On  reaching  that 
place  Colonel  Waters  found  a  letter  from  the  governor, 
dated  the  fifteenth  of  June,  in  which  he  was  directed  to 
hold  a  council  with  the  superintendent  of  Indian  affairs, 
and  come  to  a  decision  in  regard  to  remaining  in  the 
upper  country,  and  recommending  that  one  company  of 
eighty-five  men,  rank  and  file,  should  be  left  to  garrison 
Forts  Waters  and  Lee  until  the  arrival  of  the  expected 
United  States  regiment  of  mounted  riflemen  —  seventy  at 
Waiilatpu,  and  fifteen  at  The  Dalles. 

But  this  matter  had  already  been  arranged,  and,  as  usual, 
by  the  sagacity  of  the  lieutenent-colonel.  On  the  return 
to  Fort  Waters  a  council  of  the  officers  had  been  held,  to 
decide  upon  the  question  of  holding  the  fort  through  the 
summer,  or  until  the  United  States  troops  had  arrived,  or 

inThat  Major  Magone  was  pleased  to  perform  this  gallant  duty  is  evident  from  his 
report.  He  relates  that  several  of  the  Spokanes  shed  tears  on  parting  from  their 

Joseph  Magone  was  born  in  Ogdensburg,  New  York,  February  ilO,  1821 ;  was  a 
miller  by  occupation.  He  came  to  Oregon  as  captain  of  a  company  in  1847.  After 
the  Cayuse  war,  he  went  to  the  California  mines  and  was  fortunate ;  was  married  in 
1850,  his  wife  dying  in  1859.  He  has  written  au  account  of  his  life  for  publication. 


the  annual  immigration  had  passed.  Upon  putting  it  to 
vote  there  were  six  negatives  to  five  affirmatives.  Lee 
then  requested  that  a  call  should  be  made  for  volunteers, 
which  was  ordered,  but  later  countermanded.  "  Knowing," 
says  Lee,  "that  such  a  step  (as  abandoning  the  fort)  would 
be  yielding  up  the  little  advantage  we  had  gained  over 
the  enemy,  and  believing  it  would  be  not  only  a  violation 
of  general  orders,  but  a  matter  of  disappointment  to  the 
people  in  the  valley,  I  resolved  to  make  one  more  effort, 
independent  of  the  voice  of  the  council.  To  make  this 
effort  successful,  I  found  it  necessary  to  pledge  myself  to 
some  responsible  men,  that  I  would  give  them  a  written 
authority  to  colonize  the  country  immediately,  securing 
them  as  far  as  in  my  power  against  future  treaty  stipula 
tions  prejudicial  to  their  interests.  This  pledge  was  ac 
cordingly  made  in  good  faith  to  Captain  Philip  F.  Thomp 
son  of  Yam  hill,  Mr.  James  Taylor  of  Clatsop,  and  their 
associates.  A  call  was  then  made  for  fifty  volunteers  to 
remain  until  September  fifteenth  next,  with  a  promise 
from  Captain  Thompson,  that  he  would  return  by  that 
time  with  families  to  settle  the  country." 

This  offer  proved  successful,  and  more  than  the  required 
number  of  volunteers  remained  under  Captain  Martin. 
Lee  took  care  in  reporting  his  acts  to  the  governor,  to  en 
close  an  article  for  the  Spectator,  intended  to  help  the 
colonization  of  the  country,  stating  that  there  were  then 
in  the  Cayuse  country  grist  and  sawmills,  blacksmith 
anvils,  bellows,  and  tools,  iron,  plows,  harrows,  hoes,  a 
crop  of  wheat,  pease,  potatoes,  and  corn,  with  almost  every 
convenience  for  forming  a  settlement;  that  the  country 
was  peculiarly  adapted  to  wool-growing  and  cattle-raising, 
holding  out  greater  inducements  to  farmers  than  the 
Wallamet  valley,  and  that  the  beauty  of  the  country  and 
the  climate  was  unexcelled.  This  estimate  of  the  Walla 
Walla  valley,  then  hardly  credited  by  the  settlers  of 
western  Oregon,  has  since  been  more  than  verified. 

But  Lee  desired  the  governor's  approval,  and  assurance 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  217 

of  the  legality  of  the  grant.  To  his  inquiries  Governor 
Abernethy  replied  that  the  organic  law  of  Oregon  did  not 
limit  settlement  to  any  part  of  the  territory,  and  although 
it  might  be  impolitic  to  occupy  the  lands  of  friendly 
Indians,  there  could  be  no  impropriety  in  occupying  those 
of  the  murderers,  provided  the  party  taking  possession 
were  strong  enough  to  hold  it  and  maintain  peace.  He 
desired,  in  case  this  plan  should  be  carried  out,  that  the 
lands  and  improvements  of  the  Presbyterian  missions 
should  be  reserved.  The  governor,  therefore,  approved 
the  scheme,20  which,  indeed,  from  a  particular  point  of 
view  was  a  military  necessity.  But  it  certainly  conflicted 
with  the  statement  several  times  iterated  to  the  Cay  uses 
and  Nez  Perces  that  it  was  individuals  whom  the  govern 
ment  sought  to  punish,  and  not  the  nation.  It  was  true 
the  conduct  of  the  nation  in  sheltering  its  guilty  members 
gave  a  color  of  right  to  the  act;  but  such  nice  distinctions 
were  not  familiar  to  the  savage  mind.  The  very  thing 
was  about  to  happen  which  the  Cayuses  had  killed  Whit 
man  to  prevent,  namely,  the  settlement  of  their  lands  by 
white  people.  The  governor's  sanction  being  obtained,  a 
proclamation  appeared  in  the  Spectator  of  July  thirteenth, 
under  the  title  of  "  Forfeiture  of  the  Cayuse  Lands,"  with 
a  eulogy  intended  to  promote  their  settlement. 

When  Lee  was  at  The  Dalles  he  gave  notice  to  the 
Catholic  missionaries  engaged  at  that  time  in  erecting 
buildings  for  a  mission,  that  none  should  be  established 
by  any  denomination  until  the  presence  of  the  United 
States  troops  in  the  country  should  make  it  safe  and 
proper.  They  desisted,  but  Rev.'  Rosseau  remained,  and 
cultivated  a  farm,  without  teaching  openly.  The  oblate 
father  returned  to  the  Yakima  country,  keeping  very 
quiet;  and  the  bishop  of  Walla  Walla  wandered  about 
the  country  with  the  unsettled  Cayuses.  In  this  manner 
they  held  their  ground. 

Fort  Lee  was  left  in  charge  of  Lieutenant  Alexander  T. 

20  Oregon  Archives,  MS.  930,  939. 


Rodgers,  one  non-commissioned  officer,  and  thirteen  men.21 
The  remainder  of  the  regiment  with  Colonel  Waters  was 
not  detained  to  await  Magone's  arrival,  but  hurried  across 
the  mountains  or  down  the  river  to  their  homes,  many 
without  waiting  to  be  discharged  at  the  appointed  rendez 
vous  on  the  Clackamas  river. 

Colonel  Waters,  being  in  bad  health,  was  unable  to 
accompany  the  regiment  across  the  mountains,  and  took 
the  river  route  to  Oregon  City,  which  owing  to  adverse 
winds  proved  a  tedious  one,  so  that  he  was  unable  to  meet 
the  companies  on  the  Clackamas.  Lee  had  withdrawn 
from  any  connection  with  the  army  when  the  campaign 
closed  at  Fort  Waters;  and  although  he  crossed  the  moun 
tains  with  the  regiment,  Captain  Hall  was  in  command. 
On  arriving  at  the  rendezvous  Hall  was  compelled  to 
grant  furloughs  subject  to  the  order  of  the  governor. 
"This  step,''*  wrote  Waters,  "was  perhaps  objectionable, 
but  I  am  disposed  to  believe  the  best  that  could  have 
been  taken  under  the  circumstances."  Palmer  informed 
the  governor,  who  was  absent  from  Oregon  City,  that  the 
men  were  "perfectly  reckless"  and  "regardless  of  conse 
quences,"  on  getting  so  near  home.  Always  ready  to 
perform  their  duty  in  the  field,  they  cared  little  for  the 
conventionalities  of  army  life,  and  longing  for  a  sight  of 
beloved  faces,  risked  their  meager  and  doubtful  pay  to 
gratify  this  home  hunger. 

On  reaching  Oregon  City,  Lee,  who  must  always  be 
regarded  as  one  of  the  most  conspicuous  figures  in  the 
history  of  the  war,  declined  his  commission,  and  with  it  of 
course  the  pay,  in  the  following  letter: — 

OREGON  CITY,  June  24,  1848. 
To  Governor  Abernethy : 

DEAR  SIR  :  Having  fulfilled  my  promise  to  Colonel  Waters,  and 
the  officers  and  men  of  the  regiment,  in  accompanying  them  through 

21  The  report  of  Lieutenant  Rodgers,  August  fourteenth,  gives  the  strengch  and 
condition  of  the  force  at  Fort  Lee  as  one  lieutenant,  one  orderly  sergeant,  thirteen 
privates,  seven  horses,  ten  saddles,  six  bridles,  eight  rifles,  four  muskets,  three  shot 
guns,  fifteen  shot  pouches,  and  powder  horns.  No  fifes,  drums,  or  colors. 

THE   GAYUSE  WAR.  219 

the  late  campaign,  J  consider  myself  released  from  any  further  mili 
tary  connection  with  the  regiment^  that  connection  having  expired 
by  limitation  on  our  return  to  Fort  Waters.     Consequently,  1  there 
withdraw  from  the  regiment. 

On  the  road  from  that  place  to  Fort  Wascopam,  I  met  a  commis 
sion  filled  out  for  myself  as  lieutenant-colonel.  This  doubtless  grew 
out  of  a  misunderstanding  of  the  consent  I  gave  to  act  as  such  for 
the  time.  When  I  resigned  my  commission  as  colonel,  I  believe  I 
was  only  yielding  to  another  what  I  knew  he  considered  his  rights, 
and  my  consent  to  fill  an  office  under  him  was  purely  from  a  wish 
to  preserve  peace,  friendship,  and  good  feeling  in  the  regiment  until 
a  last  effort  should  be  made  to  punish  the  enemy,  and  not  to  gratify 
any  ambition  to  fill  an  office.  In  resigning  the  former  office,  there 
was  no  sacrifice,  but  on  the  contrary  a  high  degree  of  pleasure.  In 
submitting  to  the  latter,  though  temporarily,  I  confess  there  was  a 
sacrifice  required.  It  was  made,  as  long  as  necessary  to  the  success 
of  the  campaign.  With  the  necessity  my  obligations  expired. 
With  high  sense  of  obligation  and  duty  to  the  community,  and 
a  sense  of  gratefulness  to  your  excellency,  I  beg  leave  to  decline  the 
proffered  honor.  You  are  aware  that  no  election  in  the  regiment  to 
fill  that  office  could  be  legal,  while  there  was  no  vacancy,  even  if 
the  appointing  power  had  been  vested  in  the  regiment.  So  that  all 
I  did  in  that  capacity  was  by  mutual  consent,  and  not  legal  au 

I  remain,  yours  truly,  H.  A.  G.  LEE. 

The  public  mind  was  beginning  to  settle  down  to  its 
ordinary  composure,  when  a  fresh  excitement  was  spread 
through  the  settlements  by  the  information  furnished  by 
Lieutenant  Rodgers  at  The  Dalles,  that  the  Catholics  at 
that  place  were  inflaming  the  Indians,  and  that  a  large 
quantity  of  ammunition  and  arms  were  being  taken  into 
the  Indian  country  by  the  Jesuit  fathers.  The  amounts 
were  so  much  larger  than  the  Oregon  army  had  at  any 
time  been  able  to  command  at  one  invoice  that  the  alarm 
occasioned  by  it  seems  justifiable.22  At  all  events  the 
packages  were  seized  by  Lieutenant  Rodgers,  and  sent  to 
Oregon  City  to  be  taken  charge  of  by  the  governor,  while 
the  superintendent  of  Indian  affairs  wrote  to  Rev.  M. 

-  There  were  thirty-six  guns,  one  thousand  and  five  hundred  pounds  of  balls, 
three  hundred  pounds  of  buckshot,  and  one  thousand  and  eighty  pounds  of  powder. 
The  whole  Oregon  army  had  been  able  to  obtain  no  more  than  five  hundred  pounds 
of  powder  :  Oregon  American,  August  16,  1848  ;  Oregon  Spectator,  September  G,  1848. 


Acolti  for  an  explanation  of  the  matter.     Acolti  replied^ 
that  he   did    not   object   to   the  seizure  if   the  governor 
thought  it  prudent,  unless  it  was  the  intention  to  confis 
cate  it;  but  he  reminded  the  superintendent  that  there 
was  no  law  prohibiting  the  transportation  of  arms  through 
the  Indian  country,  but  only  the  distribution  of  them  to 
)     the  Indians.     His  explanation  of  the  incident  was,  that 
j     the  packages  seized  contained  the  annual  supply  of  the 
\     four  Jesuit   missions  of  the  Flatheads,  Pend  d'Oreilles, 
\    Coeur  d'Alenes,  and  Okanagons.     These  people  lived  by 
\  the  chase,  and  required  ammunition.     Indeed,  the  sub- 
I  sistence  of  the  priests  themselves  depended  upon  a  proper 
[supply.     Besides,  a  certain  amount  was  required  by  the 
/white  men  and  half-breeds  about  the  missions;  and  a  part 
/  of  that   seized   was   destined    to  the  British  possessions, 
/  where  the  Jesuits  had  an  extensive  mission.     Dividing 
1  the  whole   amount  among  all  these  stations,  and  thou 
sands  of  Indians,  Acolti  held  that  the  amount  was  not  large 
enough  to  cause  any  alarm. 

"With  respect  to  the  advice  you  give  me,"  wrote  the  priest  to 
Lee,  "  that  there  is  more  excitement  and  bitter  feeling  against  the 
Catholics  as  a  body  than  ever  has  existed  in  Oregon  before,  I  believe 
the  fact.  Yet,  sir,  I  presume  that  you  who  hold  authority,  and  who  . 
have  had  an  opportunity  of  knowing  how  things  have  been,  and 
who  are  not  .biased  by  prejudice  —  I  presume  that  you  and  all  sen 
sible  citizens  know  that  it  is  not  through  any  fault  of  the  Catholics 
if  this  fact  exists,  that  the  Catholics  have  done  nothing  to  cause 
excitement  or  bitter  feeling  against  them,  and  that  the  fact  is  based 
only  upon  unfounded  suspicions,  growing  out  of  unjust  prejudices 
and  a  groveling  jealousy.  I  thank  you  for  your  frankness,  and  I 
will  not  fail  to  profit  by  your  advice  whenever  circumstances  shall 
allow  me;  and  I  can  assure  you  that  I,  as  well  as  all  the  priests,  will 
beware  of  doing  nothing23  that  may  be  incentives  to  violence  and 
disorder,  or  to  evade  or  circumvent  the  laws  of  the  land.  I  hope 
you  will  give  me  credit  for  the  freedom  of  my  expressions,  and  that, 
content  with  the  purity  of  the  intentions  of  the  Catholic  priests,  you 
will  no  longer  be  surprised  at  my  'singular  proceedings,'  but  labor 

23 This  lapse  from  Grammat,  as  well  a/s  the  use  of  the  word  "credit  "  below  where 
"  pardon  "  was  meant,  is  to  be  charged  to  the  translator.  Acolti  was  an  Italian.  He 
came  to  Oregon  by  sea  in  1844.  He  was  transferred  to  California  in  1855,  and  died 
at  San  Francisco  in  1878,  distinguished  for  learning  and  piety. 

THE   CAYUtiE  WAR.  221 

c»with  all  benevolent  citizens  to  anticipate  the  unfortunate  effects  of 
the  excitement  which  is  so  unjustly  raised  against  the  Catholics,  is 
the  confidence  with  which  I  have  the  honor  to  remain,  sir, 
Your  obedient  servant, 


Governor  Abernethy  endeavored  to  quiet  the  excitement, 
and  in  a  letter  to  R.  W.  Ford,  who  had  published  an  article 
in  the  Oregon  American  and  Evangelical  Unionist,  edited  by 
J.  S.  Griffin  of  Tualatin  plains,  said: — 

I  am  well  acquainted  with  the  Indian  character,  and  know  their 
disposition  to  carry  false  reports  from  one  to  another,  sometimes 
merely  to  see  what  effect  a  report  unfavorable  to  the  person  they 
are  speaking  to  will  have.  I  am,  therefore,  satisfied  that  the  In 
dians,  in  making  the  statement  they  did  to  Mr.  Rodgers,  did  it  to 
mislead  him.  For  I  cannot  believe  that  the  priests  would  be  so 
remiss  as  to  say  anything  of  the  kind  to  the  Indians  while  there  is 
so  much  excitement  in  the  community. 

This  was,  it  is  true,  a  rather  weak  defense,  but  was  better 
than  the  inflammatory  articles  that  certain  anti-Romanists 
were  eager  to  place  before  the  public,  the  influence  of 
which  remains  to  this  day  in  Oregon,  many  respectable 
persons  of  the  pioneers,  and  their  children,  firmly  believ 
ing  that  the  ammunition  which  was  intercepted,  and  sent 
to  Oregon  City  when  Fort  Lee  was  abandoned,  to  lie  for 
months  in  the  governor's  storehouse,  was  intended  by  the 
Catholics  to  exterminate  the  Protestants  in  Oregon.  No 
proof  of  any  such  intention  was  ever  apparent. 

In  December,  a  petition  was  presented  to  the  legislature 
to  expel  Catholics  from  the  country,  which  was  rejected. 
They  were  not  permitted  to  return  to  the  Umatilla,  but 
retained  possession  of  all  their  other  missions.  In  Febru 
ary,  1849,  the  legislative  assembly  having  inquired  of  the 
governor  what  disposition  had  been  made  of  the  arms  and 
ammunition  of  the  priests,  he  replied  that  he  had  felt 
himself  justified  in  retaining  possession  of  them  until 
then ;  but  application  had  been  made  to  him  to  return  the 
property  to  Vancouver  to  be  placed  to  the  credit  of  the 
Catholic  missions  on  the  company's  books,  accompanied 


by  an  assurance  that  no  powder  should  be  sent  to  the 
upper  country  without  the  sanction  of  the  Oregon  govern 
ment,  and  that  he  had  done  so. 

The  proclamation  which  discharged  the  first  regiment 
of  Oregon  riflemen  was  dated  July  5,  1848,  the  only  por 
tion  excepted  being  the  men  left  at  Forts  Waters  and  Lee. 
On  the  twelfth,  the  commissary-general  wrote  to  the 
governor  that  the  men  thus  detailed  were  in  need  of 
clothing  and  provisions;  that  having  no  funds  on  hand 
in  his  department  to  supply  them,  he  had  called  on  the 
loan  commissioners  for  an  amount  barely  sufficient  to 
subsist  these  men  until  October  first,  when  their  term 
would  expire;  but  that  the  commissioners  had  replied 
that  they  had  no  funds,  and  believed  it  impossible  to 
raise  any;  and  as  the  decision  of  the  board  had  been  that 
they  were  not  authorized  to  execute  bonds  for  debts  he 
might  contract,  it  was  no  longer  in  his  power  to  supply 
the  troops.24 

Meanwhile,  by  hook  or  by  crook,  the  volunteers  in  the 
Indian  country  got  on  very  well.  The  mill  had  been  re 
paired,  and  some  large  caches  of  grain  discovered.  They 
celebrated  the  fourth  of  July  in  due  form  with  a  feast  and 
patriotic  toasts  drunk  in  water,  among  which  was:  "The 
American  flag,  the  only  thing  American  that  will  bear 
stripes,"  said  to  have  been  proposed  by  a  "young  Miss 
Wickliffe,"25  of  Oregon  City. 

24  Palmer  asked  the  commissioners  for  one  thousand  dollars  for  subsistence  and 
six  hundred  and  eighty-eight  dollars  for  clothing :    Oregon  Archives,  MS.  1010. 

25  The  following  letter  is  interesting  as  a  picture  of  the  times  in  the  interior  at  this 
date.    It  is  written  July  fifth  to  Lee  by  C.  W.  Cooke:  "As  the  Messrs.  Priests  will 
start  down  tomorrow,  altho'  I  have  nothing  important  to  comrmmicate,  I  cannot 
forego  an  opportunity  of  informing  you  of  some  things  that  have  transpired  in  this 
delightful  portion  of  God's  heritage,  vulgarly  known  as  middle  Oregon.    We  saw  not 
an  Indian,  and  heard  no  news  from  the  time  of  your  departure  up  to  the  tAventy- 
eighth  proximo,  when  Moolpool  and  Tintinmitzie  came  from  the  Grand  Round  and 
informed  us  that  the  Kayuses  were  all  there,  and  the  murderers  high  up  on  Burnt 
riyer.    The  most  of  the  Kayuses  will  be  back  here  in  a  few  weeks.    Richard  and  Red 
Wolf  took  supper  with  us  three  nights  gone,  and  told  us  that  the  Snakes  have  killed 
five  Nez  Percys,  and  that  they  are  making  preparations  to  go  immediately  against  the 
Snakes.    It  is  Indian  news,  and  you  know  the  reliability  of  the  information.    Being 
myself  very  skeptical,  and  knowing  Mr.  McBean's  superior  facilities  for  detecting 

THE   GAYUSE  WAR.  223 

The  volunteers  performed  the  duty  of  holding  the 
Cayuse  country,  and  patroling  the  immigrant  road  to  the 
satisfaction  of  the  Oregon  government  and  the  immigra 
tion.  Since  the  opening  of  the  road,  never  had  the  Indians 
behaved  so  well.  The  murderers,  reduced  to  poverty,  and 
without  ammunition,  kept  out  of  the  way  of  hoth  volun 
teers  and  immigrants.  Thus  the  Cayuse  war  came  to  an 
end,  it  might  be  said,  for  want  of  powder.  The  murderers 
had  not  been  hung,  but  they  had  been  severely  punished, 
and  the  Cayuse  nation,  as  such,  had  lost  its  prestige 

As  might  have  been  expected,  some  of  the  more  restless 
tribes  in  western  Oregon  were  affected  by  the  war  rumors, 
and  early  showed  signs  of  insurrection.  These  were  the 
Molallas  and  Klamaths,  who  ranged  about  the  head  of  the 
Wallamet  valley,  and  over  into  the  Klamath  basin.  Be 
lieving  that  the  warriors  among  the  white  men  had  all 
gone  to  give  battle  to  the  Cayuses,  these  Indians  made 
several  incursions  into  the  settlements,  committing  acts 

Indian  falsehood  and  obtaining  truth,  I  came  here  ( to  Walla  Walla  fort)  today  to  see 
him,  and  I  find  that  he  places  the  utmost  confidence  in  the  report.  He  is  also  of 
opinion  that  there  is  a  prospect  of  serious  difficulty  between  Young  Chief  and  Yellow 
Serpent,  owing  to  some  recent  misunderstanding.  I  give  it  to  you  as  I  hear  it.  I  am 
not  responsible  for  its  authenticity.  No  news  from  the  United  States.  I'm  becoming 
impatient.  I  am  looking  for  the  troops  every  day.  We  did  not  forget  that  yesterday 
was  the  fourth  of  July.  Indeed,  we  paid  to  it  all  the  deference  and  honor  of  which 
in  our  circumstances  we  were  capable,  with  guns,  songs,  hymns,  and  national  an 
thems.  Everything  passed  off  quietly,  and  in  genteel  military  order.  I  have  sent 
Mr.  Wait  (editor  Spectator)  some  scraps.  See  him  for  particulars.  I  am  anxious  to 
know  what  will  be  done  by  the  United  States  government  in  relation  to  this  country. 
I  have  no  interest  in  the  place  at  Fort  Waters,  and  so  many  have  taken  claims  already 
up  here,  that  I  deemed  it  not  improper  to  at  least  secure  that  place  for  Perrin  ( Whit 
man),  provided  it  be  lawful  to  take  claims  here  now,  and  yourself  nor  the  governor 
do  not  want  it  for  a  military  post,  or  agency,  and  the  missionaries  do  not  claim  it  for 
the  board  on  account  of  previous  occupancy.  Then,  if  you  think  it  expedient  to  enter 
it  for  Perrin  before  it  is  taken  by  others,  you  will  call  for  a  beginning  stake  three- 
fourths  of  a  mile  southwest  of  the  old  buildings  ;  thence  north  one  mile  to  a  stake  : 
thence  east  one  mile  to  a  stake ;  thence  south  one  mile  to  a  stake  ;  thence  west  one 
mile  to  the  beginning,  including  the  improvements  of  the  late  Dr.  Whitman.  The 
corn  is  silking,  and  our  wheat  is  ripe  for  harvest.  The  boys  are  cutting  today.  I 
think  we  will  have  between  two  hundred  and  three  hundred  bushels.  I  find  some 
half  dozen  commissions  among  the  waste  papers  in  the  loft  and  send  them  to  you 
for  disposition.  My  respects  to  the  governor  and  family,  and  General  Palmer  and 
family,  <fcc.  Three  of  McBean's  horses,  branded  "  H.  B.,"  have  been  taken  to  the 
valley.  Tell  the  quartermasters  to  please  see  to  it.  Dr.  Lydan,  the  poet,  and  all  the 
boys,  send  you  their  compliments  :"  Oregon  Archives,  MS.  1009, 1026.  In  such  friendly 
and  unmilitary  fashion  did  the  whilom  adjutant  address  his  late  superior. 


against  peace  and  order,  apparently  to  test  the  ability  of 
the  settlers  to  protect  themselves. 

The  most  impudent  of  these  raids  were  the  rape  of  a 
young  girl  in  Lane  county,  some  cattle  thefts  in  Benton 
county,  and  an  attack  on  the  house  of  Richard  Miller  in 
Champoeg(now  Marion)  county.  It  happened  that  one 
Knox,  whose  home  was  in  Linn  county,  was  carrying  the 
first  United  States  mail  ever  delivered  in  this  part  of 
Oregon,  and  saw  a  man  running  from  Indians,  to  gain  the 
shelter  of  Miller's  house.  He  put  spurs  to  his  horse,  and 
notified  the  settlers  along  his  route  as  quickly  as  he  could. 
These  mounted  and  spread  the  alarm,  until  by  morning  a 
company  of  men  and  boys  numbering  one  hundred  and 
fifty  were  rendezvoused  at  Miller's  place,  from  which  the 
Indians  had  in  the  meantime  retired  with  threats  of  mis 
chief.  An  organization  of  this  force  was  at  once  effected, 
Daniel  Waldo  being  elected  colonel,  and  R.  C.  Geer,  Allen 
Davy,  Richard  Miller,  and  Samuel  Parker,  captains. 

The  Indian  encampment  was  on  the  Abiqua  creek  where 
it  comes  down  from  the  Cascades  to  the  valley,  and  towards 
this  the  volunteers  marched,  the  mounted  men  proceeding 
up  the  north  side,  and  the  foot  soldiers  up  the  south  side.26 
When  the  Indians  discovered  the  horsemen,  they  began 
crossing  to  the  south  side  and  fell  into  an  ambuscade  of 
the  footmen  awaiting  them.  After  a  few  shots  had  been 
exchanged,  the  Indians  retreated  up  the  creek,  having  two 
killed.  As  the  day  was  nearly  spent,  those  who  had  fam 
ilies  to  protect  returned  home,  and  the  single  men  and 
boys  encamped  at  a  farmhouse  to  be  ready  for  an  early 
start  next  morning.  Those  who  could  do  so  rejoined  them 
at  daybreak,  and  they  overtook  the  Indians,  retreating  on 

26  R.  C.  Geer  wrote  an  account  of  this  affair  in  the  Salem, Oregon,, Statesman, which 
was  copied  into  the  San  Jos6  Pioneer  of  September  1, 1877,  from  which  the  above  is 
taken.  He  mentions  the  following  names:  William  Parker,  James  Harpole,  Wilburu 
King,  James  Brown,  S.  D.  Maxon,  L.  A.  Bird,  Israel  Shaw,  Robert  Shaw,  King  Hib- 
bard.  William  Brisbane,  — .  Winchester,  Port.  Gilliam,  William  Howell,  Thomas 
Howell,  George  Howell,  William  Hendricks,  Len.  Goff,  Leander  Davis,  G.  W.  Hunt, 
James  Williams,  J.  Warnock,  J.  W.  Schrum,  Thomas  Schrum,  Elias  Cox,  Cyrus  Smith 
T.  B.  Allen,  Henry  Schrum,  and  Jacob  Caplinger. 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  225 

the  Klamath  trail  with  their  best  marksmen  apparently 
in  the  rear.  One  of  the  volunteers  was  hit  in  the  breast 
by  an  arrow  which  failed  to  penetrate,  but  the  balls  of  the 
frontier  riflemen  went  home.  The  Indians  were  driven  to 
bay  at  a  pass  of  the  stream  where  the  cliffs  came  down 
precipitately  on  the  south  side,  and  the  current  would  not 
permit  them  to  cross.  Here,  fighting  the  best  they  could, 
seven  warriors  were  slain,  and  two  women  wounded  —  one 
of  the  warriors,  however,  being  a  woman  armed. 

When  the  battle  was  over  it  was  discovered  that  the 
actual  marauders  had  eluded  them,  and  those  who  had 
suffered  were  their  families  and  camp  guards.  Ashamed 
of  their  easy  victory,  the  volunteers  built  a  large  fire  in  a 
comfortable  camping  place,  and  left  the  wounded  women 
to  be  found  and  cared  for  by  their  relatives.  So  sensitive 
were  the  participants  in  the  "battle  of  the  Abiqua,"  that 
it  was  seldom  referred  to,  and  never  mentioned  as  among 
tha  defensive  measures  of  the  colonists  in  1848.  Yet  the 
punishment  inflicted,  and  the  knowledge  imparted  on  and 
to  the  savages  on  the  southeastern  border,  proved  salutary, 
and  put  an  end  to  raids  from  that  quarter. 

On  the  west  side  of  the  valley  the  inhabitants  had  some 
trouble  with  the  Calapooias  and  Tillamooks,  who  mur 
dered  an  old  man,  and  stole  cattle  from  the  settlers.  A 
collision  occurred  in  March,  in  which  two  Indians  were 
killed,  and  ten  other  marauding  savages  taken  and  "* 
whipped.  This  punishment  had  the  effect  to  intimidate 
them,  and  secure  order  in  that  quarter. 

On  the  tenth  of  April,  Superintendent  Lee  appointed 
Felix  Scott  sub-agent  of  Indian  affairs,  and  notified  him 
that  it  was  advisable  to  raise  a  company  for  the  defense  of 
the  southern  frontier,  and  asking  him  to  undertake  the 
duty.  This  he  did,  enrolling  a  company  of  less  than  half 
the  regulation  number.27  He  was  commissioned  captain 
of  the  independent  rifle  rangers  May  11,  1848,  and  pro- 

27  No  roll  of  Scott's  company  exists.  It  was  probably  never  more  than  twenty-five 


ceeded  up  the  valley,  finding  the  settlers  much  disturbed 
by  the  conduct  of  the  Indians,  and  rumors  of  attacks  upon 
travelers.28  Scott  found  but  few  of  the  predatory  natives 
in  the  Wallamet,  they  having  retired  through  the  moun 
tain  passes  to  places  of  safety.  On  the  seventh  of  July  he 
was  ordered  to  proceed  to  southeastern  Oregon  to  escort 
the  immigrants  by  the  southern  route,  a  duty  which  he 
performed  with  only  nineteen  men,  and  without  serious 
interference  by  the  natives.29 

C  "*  John  Saxtou,  who  wrote  a  little  book  about  Oregon,  was  coming  from  California 
with  a  band  of  one  hundred  horses  in  April.  His  party  consisted  of  six  men,  and 
the  Klamath  and  Rogue  river  Indians  hanging  upon  their  trail  caused  the  loss  of 
sixty-five  of  their  animals :  Oregon  Spectator,  May  4, 1848. 

20  Scott  was  a  Virginian  by  birth,  and  had  been  lieutenant-governor  of  Missouri. 
In  1845  he  crossed  the  plains  to  California,  coming  to  Oregon  in  the  spring  of  1846, 
and  settling  in  Yamhill  county.  In  184$  he  went  to  the  gold  fields  of  California,  and 
the  following  year  removed  to  Lane  county  in  this  state,  where  he  was  largely  inter 
ested  in  stock-raising  and  lumbering.  In  1858  he  went  by  sea  to  New  York,  thence  to 
Kentucky,  and  was  on  his  way  home  with  a  herd  of  blooded  horses,  when  he  was 
killed  by  the  Pit  river  Indians  near  Goose  lake,  and  his  horses  taken. 



THE  events  narrated  in   the  foregoing  chapters,  of  so  \ 
much  importance  to  the  Oregon  colony,  had  transpired    \ 
without  the  knowledge  of  the  outside  world.     The  letter  of    1 
Mr.  Douglas  to  S.  N.  Castle  of  Honolulu,  was  not  received  / 
until  February,  and  was  productive  of  no  results.     The 
dispatches  for  California,  which   failed  as  has  been  nar 
rated,  to  get  over  the  mountains,  were  put  on  board  the 
brig   Henry,  which   left   the   Columbia   river   about  the 
middle  of  March,  arriving  at  San  Francisco  April  twelfth, 
leaving  immediately  for  Mazatlan  with  government  stores 
for  the  United  States  troops  in  Mexico. 

Such  was  the  isolation  of  Oregon  at  this  time  that  it 
was  not  known  to  its  legislature  or  governor  that  the 
United  States  had  taken  possession  of  California,  and  the 
communication  first  sent  was  addressed  to  the  commodore 
of  the  Pacific  squadron,  as  follows: — 

OREGON  CITY,  December  28,  1847. 
To  W.  Bradford  j&hubrick,  Commander  Pacific  Squadron : 

SIR  :  The  present  state  of  affairs  in  Oregon  induces  me  to  address 
you  on  the  subject.  I  inclose  herewith  two  papers  which  will  inform 



you  of  our  situation,  and  the  necessity  there  is  of  sending  aid,  if  in 
your  power,  as  soon  as  possible.  A  sloop-of-war  anchored  in  the 
Columbia  river  at  Vancouver,  or  near  the  mouth  of  the  Willamette 
river,  would  exert  a  powerful  influence  in  our  behalf.  The  Indians 
would  be  led  to  believe  that  our  chief,  of  whom  they  have  often 
heard,  was  ready  to  examine  into  and  punish  any  wrongs  they 
might  inflict  on  American  citizens.  A  supply  of  ammunition  could 
be  furnished  to  repel  any  attacks  they  might  make  on  us,  and  would 
also  let  the  citizens  of  the  United  States  dwelling  in  this  distant 
land  know  they  wrere  not  neglected.  A  vessel  drawing  sixteen  feet 
of  water  can  enter  our  harbor  in  safety ;  one  drawing  fifteen  feet 
can,  I  believe,  get  up  the  Columbia  at  any  season  of  the  year  with 
proper  caution.  I  am  aware  that  the  present  season  is  not  the 
most  favorable  for  entering  our  river  and  ascending  it,  still  mer 
chantmen  enter  and  depart  at  all  seasons  of  the  year. 

Believing  that  you  will  do  all  you  can  to  render  us  assistance, 
I  have  the  honor  to  remain,  yours  truly, 

Governor  of  Oregon. 

By  the  Henry,  the  governor  wrote  again  the  following: — 

.    OREGON  CITY,  March  11,  1848. 
Commander  W.  Bradford  Shubrick  : 

SIR  :  I  have  written  you  under  date  of  December  twenty-eighth 
and  January  twenty-fifth  last,  both  of  which  failed  to  reach  yon. 
I  herewith  send  letters  and  the  Spectator,  from  which  you  can  see 
our  present  situation.  Captain  Kilburn,  of  the  brig  Henry,  can 
inform  you  on  any  subject  you  may  wish  to  inquire  of  him.  I 
would  again  call  your  attention  to  the  necessity  of  sending  us  one 
or  more  vessels  of  war  as  soon  as  possible.  Indians  are  restrained 
by  fear;  they  have  a  dread  of  cannon  and  man-of-war  ships.  I  have 
told  them,  a  ship  of  war  would  be  here  in  the  spring.  I  am  waiting 
with  anxiety  to  hear  from  the  commissioners  sent  up  to  treat  with 
the  Indians.  Should  we  succeed  in  settling  this  affair,  which  is 
uncertain,  the  presence  of  one  of  our  ships  at  this  juncture  would 
let  them  know  that  the  Americans  have  it  in  their  power  to  punish 
them,  and  would  probably  deter  them  from  further  aggressions.  I 
have  conversed  with  the  pilot  at  the  mouth  of  the  Columbia.  He 
says  that  he  can  bring  in  a  vessel  drawing  twenty-two  feet  of  water. 
Under  his  care  any  sloop-of-war  under  your  command  can  enter  our 
river.  Captain  Kilburn  says,  if  needed,  he  will  come  up  in  any 
vessel  sent  by  you. 

Yours  truly,  GEORGE  ABERNETHY, 

Governor  of  Oregon. 

THE   GAYUSE  WAR.  229 

Notwithstanding  all  this  writing  and  effort,  the  United 
States  transport  Anita,  commanded  by  acting  Captain 
Selirn  C.  Wood  worth,  arrived  in  the  Columbia  March  six 
teenth,  without  being  at  all  aware  of  the  condition  of 
affairs  in  Oregon.  Instead  of  bringing  the  needed  assist 
ance,  the  Anita's  errand  was  to  raise  men  for  the  war  with 
Mexico,  as  the  following  correspondence  will  show: — 

MONTEREY,  California,  January  28,  1848.  J 

To  Ills  Excellency,  George  Abernethy,  Governor  of  Oregon  : 

SIR  :  From  intelligence  received  here  yesterday  from  Commo 
dore  Shubrick,  commanding  the  United  States  naval  forces  off 
Mazatlan, —  a  copy  of  his  communication  is  enclosed  herewith, —  I 
deem  it  of  the  utmost  importance  to  raise  a  corps  of  one  thousand 
men  to  send  to  Lower  California  and  Mazatlan  as  early  as  practica 
ble.  I  shall  therefore  dispatch  an  officer,  Major  Hardie  of  the  army, 
to  confer  with  your  excellency,  and  if  possible  to  raise  in  Oregon  an 
infantry  battalion  of  four  companies,  to  be  mustered  into  the  ser 
vice  of  the  United  States  to  serve  during  the  war,  unless  sooner  dis 
charged  ;  or,  if  it  be  impracticable  to  engage  them  for  that  period, 
then  to  engage  them  for  twelve  months  from  the  time  of  being 
mustered  into  service,  unless  sooner  discharged.  The  battalion  will 
consist  of  field  and  staff — one  major,  one  adjutant,  a  lieutenant 
of  one  of  the  companies,  but  not  in  addition.  Non-commissioned 
staff — one  sergeant-major,  one  quarteVmaster-sergeant.  Four  com 
panies  (staff),  of  which  to  consist  of  captain,  one  first  lieuten 
ant,  two  second  lieutenants,  four  sergeants,  four  corporals,  two 
musicians,  and  one  hundred  privates.  Should  the  number  of  pri 
vates,  on  being  mustered,  not  fall  below  sixty-four  effective  men  in 
a  company,  it  will  be  received.  In  the  United  States  the  volunteer 
officers  are  appointed  and  commissioned  in  accordance  with  the 
laws  of  the  state  from  which  they  are  taken.  The  officers  from 
Oregon  will  therefore,  of  course,  be  appointed  pursuant  to  the  laws 
of  Oregon,  if  there  are  any  on  that  subject ;  if  not,  in  such  mannei 
as  your  excellency  may  direct,  in  which  case  I  would  respectfully 
suggest  that  the  company  officers  be  elected  by  their  respective 
companies,  and  that  the  major  be  appointed  by  yourself;  and  I 
would  further  respectfully  suggest  the  extreme  importance  to  the 
public  service,  that  the  officers  be  judiciously  selected.  The  place 
of  rendezvous  for  the  several  companies,  as  fast  as  they  shall  bo 
organized,  is  necessarily  left  to  yourself  and  Major  Hardie. 
I  do  not  know  how  this  call  for  volunteers  will  be  met  in  Oregon, 
but  I  flatter  myself  with  the  assurance  that  it  will  receive  the 


cordial  support  of  your  excellency,  and  I  am  certain  will  show  that 
the  citizens  of   Oregon   have  lost  no  patriotism,  by  crossing  the 
mountains,  and  that  they  will  be  equally  prompt  in  coming  to  their 
country's  standard  as  their  brethren  in  the  United  States. 
Yours  respectfully, 

R.  B.  MASON, 
Colonel  First  Dragoons,  Governor  of  California. 

To  this  Governor  Abernethy  replied : — 

To  His  Excellency,  R.  B.  Mason,  Governor  of  California  : 

SIR  :  I  received  your  letter  of  the  twenty-eighth  of  January  last, 
together  with  a  copy  of  Commodore  Shubrick's  letter  of  sixth  of 
December  last,  and  in  reply  would  beg  leave  to  state  that  in  the 
existing  state  of  affairs  in  this  territory,  I  do  not  think  it  would  be 
prudent  on  my  part  to  send  any  men  out  of  the  territory.  Before 
this  reaches  you,  my  letters  of  December  twenty-eighth,  January 
twenty-sixth,  and  March  eleventh,  together  with  copies  of  the  Specta 
tor,  will  have  reached  you,  from  which  you  will  have  learned  our  situ 
ation,  and  the  need  there  is  of  our  being  assisted  by  the  government 
of  the  United  States.  I  have  in  these  letters  begged  that  a  sloop-of- 
war  might  be  sent  to  our  aid.  I  should  have  called  for  men,  as  we 
need  a  few  disciplined  troops  to  take  the  lead,  but  concluded  you 
could  not  spare  them.  We  need  very  much  a  few  field  pieces,  balls, 
and  powder;  a  quantity  of  rifle  powder  and  lead;  and,  in  fact, 
everything  that  is  really  needed  to  carry  on  a  war.  May  I  be  per 
mitted  to  ask  your  aid  in  furnishing  us  with  these  necessarj^  articles  ? 
T  send  you  with  this  a  Spectator  of  March  twenty-fifth,  also  an 
extra  issued  this  day,  and  a  copy  of  my  proclamation  calling  for 
three  hundred  men  in  addition  to  those  already  in  the  field;  and  it 
is  not  at  all  improbable  that  I  may  have  to  call  a  large  number  of 
men  into  the  field  to  protect  the  Willamette  valley.  I  am  glad  that 
we  have  been  visited  by  Major  Hardie,  as  he  can  on  his  return  in 
form  you  more  fully  of  our  situation  than  I  can  by  letter.  I  regret 
that  circumstances  are  such  that  this  gentleman  returns  without  the 
aid  you  expected  to  receive  from  Oregon,  and  sincerely  trust  that 
you  will  not  lay  it  to  our  want  of  patriotism,  for  1  assure  you  that 
nothing  would  have  afforded  me  more  pleasure  than  to  have  met 
the  call  of  your  excellency,  and  I  have  not  a  doubt  but  that  it  would 
have  been  cheerfully  responded  to  by  our  citizens. 
I  have  the  honor  to  be,  your  obedient  servant, 

Governor  of  Oregon. 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  231 

In  evidence  of  the  interest  taken  by  the  Hudson's  Bay 
Company  in  the  affairs  of  the  Oregon  government,  the 
following  letter  of  Ogden  is  interesting.  It  refers,  prob 
ably,  to  a  letter  to  President  Polk  :— 

VANCOUVER,  March  21, 1848. 
Mr.  George  Abernethy  : 

MY  DEAR  SIR  :  I  duly  received  your  note,  with  the  letter  en 
closed,  which  has  been  duly  forwarded  to  the  states,  and  trust  it 
will  reach  its  destination  in  safety.  Our  express,  three  boats,  thirty 
men,  three  gentlemen,  and  our  bishop,  all  well  armed,  left  yesterday 
afternoon,  and  the  precaution  has  been  taken  to  have  thirty  horses 
in  case  they  cannot  proceed  with  the  boats,  as  the  express  must  go 
on  to  its  destination.  Pray,  what  is  the  object  of  Woodworth's 
visit?  For  volunteers,  in  numbers,  it  cannot  be!  —  his  ship  being 
too  small  —  nor  can  the  country  afford,  in  its  present  unsettled  state 
of  affairs  in  the  interior,  and  I  fear,  likely  to  be,  in  the  upper  part 
of  the  Willamette,  if  reports  are  to  be  relied  upon,  to  spare  any.  I 
fear  it  will  require  all  to  protect  our  adopted  country.  Appearances 
have  a  gloomy  aspect ;  may  we  hope  it  will  soon  pass  away,  and 
that  brighter  days  are  in  store  for  us.  I  have  written  to  my  friends 
on  the  east  side,  and  forwarded  those  you  sent.  On  the  arrival  of 
our  boats  at  Walla  Walla,  a  party  will  return  to  this  place,  and  if 
Newell  does  not  arrive  from  the  interior,  we  shall  then  have  no 
news  from  the  army.  Mr.  McBean  has  a  good  opinion  of  the  com 
missioners,  and  writes  me  they  acted  with  judgment,  but  fears  the 
general  will  commit  some  rash  act.  What  does  Campbell  report  in 
regard  to  the  intentions  of  the  American  government  in  regard  to 
Oregon?  Do  they  intend  to  let  it  stand  over  until  the  Mexican 
affairs  are  finally  settled?  I  hope  not.  It  is  now  more  than  full 
time  decisive  measures  should  be  adopted  for  the  safety  of  one  and 
all.  You  have  certainly  done  your  part  well,  and  if  the  government 
would  but  liberally  supply  the  sinews  of  war  —  money — the  country 
can  well  be  defended  with  her  own  resources.  You  ought  to  have 
forwarded  a  duplicate  of  all  your  dispatches  by  our  express  in  July, 
and  they  would  be  in  Washington  ;  if  Meek  does  escape,  they  will 
not  be  there  long  before  that.1 

Yours  truly,  PETER  SKEEN  OGDEN. 

On  learning  of  the  death  of  Colonel  Gilliam,  Ogden  pre 
pared  an  obituary  notice  for  the  Spectator,  which  he  sent 

!This  rather  blind  sentence  was  meant  to  say  that  Meek's  dispatches  would  not, 
even  if  he  escaped  the  perils  of  his  journey,  get  to  Washington  long  hefore  the  letters 
by  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company's  express.  He  was,  however,  in  the  United  States  two 
months  before. 


to  the  governor,  intending  doubtless  to  influence  the  people 
for  what  he  believed  to  be  for  their  good,  as  he  was  well 
informed  of  the  dissensions  in  the  army : — 

VANCOUVER,  April  1,  1848. 
Mr.  George  Abernethy  : 

DEAR  SIR  :  If,  after  perusal,  you  deem  the  enclosed  worthy  of 
insertion  in  the  Oregon  Spectator,  it  is  at  your  service ;  if  not,  send 
it  back.  I  am  not  aware  of  the  feelings  of  the  good  people  of  Ore. 
gon  in  regard  to  the  late  Colonel  Gilliam.  He  was  a  stranger  to  me, 
and  the  outline  of  his  character,  which  I  have  obtained  from  others, 
may,  perhaps,  tend  to  have  good  effect. 

I  duly  received  your  favor  and  thank  you  for  your  news,  but  on 
some  tidings  I  leave  you  to  form  your  own  opinion  as  to  their  being 
good  or  bad.  Many  circumstances,  and  prudent  ones,  obliged  the 
army  to  retreat,  thus  stop  the  war.  But,  in  our  estimation,  bearing 
the  cares,  this  cannot  be  called  a  retreat,  or  even  a  defeat.  But  un 
fortunately,  the  Indians  will  take  a  different  view  of  it,  and  give  it 
a  different  construction  from  ( temporary )  weakness  of  the  army 
during  the  absence  of  so  many  men  to  The  Dalles.  Should  an 
attack  be  made  on  the  army  I  dread  the  result,  but  not  if  the  officers 
and  men  were  united  ;  they  would  then  make  a  formidable  resist 
ance.  Captain  McKay  will  give  you  every  particular.  His  stay 
here  was  too  short  to  obtain  correct  information,  and  full  allowance 
must  be  made  for  his  news  ;  but  you  know  him  well.  He  speaks  in 
high  terms  of  the  bravery  of  the  volunteers  in  action,  but  not  so 
much  so  in  regard  to  their  discipline.  I  was  glad  to  hear  that  he 
intends  to  return,  and  the  sooner  the  better.  In  case  he  should 
change  his  mind,  knowing  his  character  so  well,  it  would  not  at 
all  surprise  me. 

This  day  we  have  a  report  here  in  circulation  of  a  war  nearer  our 
firesides.  Surely  one  is  more  than  sufficient  in  the  present  de 
fenseless  state  of  the  country,  and  more  than  sufficient  for  the 
resources  of  this  unfortunate  and  neglected  country.  In  making 
these  remarks,  I  consider  myself  perfectly  justified,  for  it  appears 
to  me,  and  must  also  to  many  others,  that  the  United  States  govern 
ment  has  been  more  remiss  in  not  sending,  if  not  forces,  the  means 
of  defending  it  —  money.  They  may  have  cause  to  regret  it  when 
too  late,  for  I  fear  blood  will  be  made  to  flow  freely,  and  ere  I  leave 
this  subject,  let  me  add  that  present  appearances  have  a  gloomy 
aspect;  and  may  brighter  days  now  shine  on  us,  is  my  fervent  prayer. 

Major  Hardie  has  not  yet  honored  us  with  a  visit.     I  should  regret 
not  seeing  him,  as  from  my  long  experience  in  this  country  I  might 
be  able  to  impress  on  his  mind  the  absolute  necessity  of  rendering 
us  speedy  assistance.     Palmer's  resignation  did  not  surprise  me. 
Yours  truly, 


THE   GAYUSE  WAE.  233 

That  Ogden's  assertion  that  the  United  States  might 
have  to  regret  its  supineness  in  regard  to  Oregon  might 
be  construed  to  mean  more  than  defeat  at  the  hands  of 
the  Indians,  the  governor's  answer  to  this  letter  of  Ogden's 
makes  apparent.  That  those  who  had  to  bear  the  heavy 
responsibilities  of  the  war  should  have  thought  of  how 
they  were  to  bear  them,  in  case  the  federal  government 
remained  indifferent,  was  but  natural.  The  means  sug 
gested  are  hinted  at  in  the  reply  to  the  above  :— 

OREGON  CITY,  April  4,  1848. 
To  Peter  Skeen  Ogden : 

DEAR  SIR  :  I  received  your  favor  of  the  first  instant.  I  handed 
the  obituary  notice  to  the  editor,  and  feel  very  much  obliged  to  you 
for  it,  and  hope  you  will  occasionally  favor  us  with  your  pen.  I 
regret  very  much  the  circumstances  that  caused  the  retreat  of  the 
army  to  Waiilatpu,  and  were  bringing  Colonel  Gilliam  to  this  place. 
I  have  heard  for  some  time  that  there  was  a  want  of  unison  in  the 
army,  and  really  hope  that  hereafter  this  feeling  will  be  done  away 
with.  I  have  appointed  H.  A.  G.  Lee  colonel,  in  place  of  Colonel 
Gilliam,  deceased.  I  had  appointed  him  superintendent  of  Indian 
affairs  before  I  heard  of  Gilliam's  death.  I  am  in  hopes  he  will 
succeed  in  establishing  peace  and  obtaining  the  murderers.  It  is 
uncertain  about  McKay's  returning ;  he  says  he  has  no  wheat  in 
the  ground.  I  have  heard  a  good  deal  about  the  Klamaths,  but 
nothing  official.  All  reports  I  receive  are  letters  from  one  of  the 
volunteer  captains,  that  incline  me  to  think  the  reports  (rumors) 
are  much  exaggerated.  I  hope  they  are,  for  the  credit  of  the  set 
tlers  ;  as  you  say,  ''one  war  is  enough."  I  hope  Major  Hardie  will 
visit  you  before  he  returns.  You  will  see  by  the  proclamation  what 
my  feelings  are  on  the  war  question.  We  are  into  it,  and  must  keep 
up  a  good  front  if  possible.  I  think  we  will  at  least  be  favored  by  a 
visit  from  an  American  sloop-of-war  ;  if  we  are  not,  I  think  our 
government  is  determined  to  do  nothing  for  us.  Wonder  what  they 
would  do  if  we  should  apply  to  Great  Britain  for  a  loan  of  one  hun 
dred  thousand  pounds  to  carry  on  our  operations  ?  I  presume  we 
would  have  a  government  formed  in  double-quick  time.  Report 
says  more  vessels  are  on  their  way.  I  have  had  application  as  fol 
lows  :  to  go  to  Washington,  to  Governor  Mason,  and  to  Salt  Lake 
for  assistance.  I  am  afraid  the  Mormons  might  be  as  bad  as  the 
Indians,  and  have  refused  all.2 

Very  respectfully,  GEORGE  ABERNETHY. 

-  The  person  offering  to  go  to  Salt  Lake  for  assistance  was  Lansford  W.  Hastings, 
who  published  The  Emigrants  Guide  to  Oregon  and  California  in  1845.  He  wrote  to  F. 
W.  Pettygrove  of  Oregon  City  to  see  the  governor  about  it. 


At  the  very  time  that  a  United  States  transport  was 
lying  in  the  Columbia  river,  the  authorities  of  Oregon 
were  making  application  to  the  British  tradtrs  for  sup 
plies  for  American  volunteers  in  the  service  of  their  coun 
try.  The  answers  received  occasioned  Governor  Abernethy 
to  write  the  following  letter  to  Major  Hardie: — 

OREGON  CITY,  April  11,  1848. 
Major  J.  A.  Hardie,  United  States  Army : 

DEAR  SIR  :  General  Palmer  intends  leaving  this  morning  for  the 
Anita  to  purchase  a  few  blankets.  We  have  but  little  money.  We 
need  clothing  and  blankets  very  much.  The  men  in  the  field  are 
very  destitute.  I  am  certain  you  will  let  him  have  them  as  low  as 
you  can.  If  you  could,  by  any  possible  way,  give  a  small  portion 
of  the  United  States  property  under  your  care  to  this  territory  in 
the  present  distressed  case,  it  would  be  gratefully  received.  Mr. 
McKinlay  said  to  a  gentleman  yesterday:  "You  ask  for  clothing 
from  us;  here  is  one  of  your  own  vessels  with  just  the  things  you 
want;  why  don't  they  help  you  ?"  You  mentioned  in  conversation 
that  perhaps  you  might  be  sent  up  to  muster  our  troops  into  the 
United  States  service  in  Oregon.  If  this  can  be  done,  use  your  in 
fluence  with  Governor  Mason  to  effect  it.  If  we  should  be  able  to 
withdraw  the  most  of  them,  we  must  still  garrison  the  posts,  and 
protect  the  immigration  as  far  as  possible. 

I  am  yours,  etc.,  GEORGE  ABERNETHY, 

Governor  of  Oregon. 

To  this  very  reasonable  appeal,  as  appeared  from  a 
civilian's  point  of  view,  Major  Hardie  replied: — 

BARQUE  ANITA,  April  12,  1848. 
To  Governor  Abernethy: 

DEAR  SIR  :  I  have  received  by  General  Palmer  your  favor  of  the 
eleventh  instant,  and  take  advantage  of  General  Palmer's  return  to 
Oregon  City  to  send  you  a  line  in  answer.  I  have  no  clothing  of 
any  kind  on  board  the  vessel,  and  what  camp  equipage  I  have  on 
board  belongs  to  the  United  States  quartermaster's  department  and 
cannot  be  sold.  I  could  not  find  myself  authorized  to  issue  camp 
and  garrison  equipage  to  the  territory,  though  I  should  be  glad  to 
afford  any  assistance  to  the  war  in  my  power.  Had  I  powder  and 
lead,  or  other  ordnance  stores,  and  the  danger  to  the  territory  was 
imminent  without  such  stores  for  immediate  use,  I  should  not  hesi 
tate  to  take  the  responsibility  of  issuing  them  upon  your  requisition. 
I  brought  with  me  for  the  use  of  the  men  enlisted,  two  hundred 

THE   C Ay  USE  WAR.  235 

and  forty-five  pairs  of  blankets  to  be  delivered  to  them  at  govern 
ment  prices.  They  were  put  on  board  the  barque  at  the  sole  risk 
and  responsibility  of  Mr.  Edward  Cunningham,  a  supercargo  and 
merchant  on  the  coast  of  California,  but  at  my  request,  it  being  my 
impression  that  blankets  were  very  high  in  Oregon,  and  that  if  a 
volunteer  (receiving  an  advance  of  twenty-one  dollars  to  equip 
himself)  could  purchase  blankets  at  government  prices  instead  of 
the  high  rates  of  the  country,  it  would  be  of  great  assistance  to  him, 
and  he  would  come  into  the  service  better  equipped  than  under 
other  circumstances.  Getting  no  volunteers,  I  have  sold  for  Mr. 
Cunningham  (to  people  who  would  come  on  board  to  purchase)  a 
few  pairs  at  the  same  price  as  for  volunteers.  I  imagine  this  is  the 
cause  of  the  impression  which  appears  to  exist  abroad,  that  govern 
ment  is  selling  or  disposing  of  its  stores,  clothing,  etc. 

Did  these  blankets  belong  to  government,  I  should  be  risking 
my  commission  did  I  sell  a  blanket,  except  it  be  under  instruction 
to  that  effect.  General  Palmer  can  explain  the  circumstances  to 
you  fully.  I  have  sold  to  him  a  few  pairs  of  blankets  at  lower 
prices  than  the  invoice  which  Mr.  Cunningham  gave  me  warrants, 
and  would  gladly  do  more  to  forward  the  interests  of  the  territory 
were  I  at  liberty.  I  shall  proceed  immediately  to  Monterey  to  rep 
resent  to  Colonel  Mason  the  state  of  affairs  in  Oregon,  and  feel  con 
fident  that  he  will  be  disposed  to  send  ammunition  and  arms  for  the 
prosecution  of  the  war.  I  need  not  say  that  I  will  ask  him  to  send' 
any  assistance,  either  in  supplies,  etc.,  or  in  officers  or  men,  that  can 
be  spared  in  California,  or  that  he  may  feel  authorized  to  send;  or 
that  he  may  give  what  immediate  relief  the  United  States  govern 
ment  can  furnish  on  this  side  of  the  continent.  Men  cannot,  I 
suppose,  be  expected  by  you  in  the  recent  state  of  the  war  in  Mexico 
and  California.  Supplies  can,  I  think,  be  spared. 
I  am  with  great  respect, 


That  which  strikes  the  student  of  Oregon  history  is  the 
pathetic  patience  with  which  the  people,  and  the  provis 
ional  government,  bore  the  long- continued  neglect  of  the 
federal  government.  From  the  first  influx  of  immigration 
proper,  in  1842  and  1843,  congress  had  been  entreated  to 
make  some  provision  for  the  protection  of  travelers  to  Ore 
gon  from  Indian  attacks,  as  it  had  previously  been  urged 
to  insist  upon  the  rights  of  Americans  as  against  the 
British,  represented  by  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company.  But 
congress  had  equally  neglected  both.  The  people,  guided 
by  a  few  wise  minds,  had  hit  upon  the  plan  of  inducing 


the  British  residents  to  join  with  them  in  forming  a  joint 
organization,  which  both  parties  knew  to  be  temporary, 
and  only  to  be  maintained  by  mutual  concessions.  After 
much  petitioning,  congress  had  at  last  ordered  to  be  raised 
and  equipped  a  regiment  of  mounted  riflemen,  to  establish 
posts,  and  patrol  the  road  to  Oregon.  But  instead  of  being 
sent  at  once  to  this  country  it  was  ordered  to  duty  in 
Mexico,  from  there  sent  back  to  Fort  Leavenworth  at 
the  close  of  the  war  with  Mexico,  and  its  decimated  ranks 
filled  up  with  raw  recruits.  Of  these  movements  isolated 
Oregon  was  in  ignorance,  and  unable  to  account  for  the 
non-appearance  of  the  regiment  known  to  have  been  raised 
for  her  exclusive  benefit,  still  strained  her  eyes  toward  the 
east,  always  looking  for  some  sign,  and  listening  for  some 
news  of  the  promised  aid.  For  this  Dr.  Whitman  was  wait 
ing  when  he  delayed  too  long  to  leave  the  Cayuse  country. 
For  this  the  volunteers  at  Fort  Waters  waited  until  Octo 
ber,  performing  the  duty  the  federal  government  had  been 
pledged  to  perform ;  and  for  this  Oregon  was  still  waiting 
when  Governor  Abernethy  was  called  upon  to  assist  the 
United  States. 

After  answering  Governor  Mason's  letter,  on  the  same 
day  the  governor  addressed  the  following  communication 
to  President  Polk : — 

OREGON  CITY,  April  3,  1848. 
James  K.  Polk,  President  of  the  United  States : 

DEAR  SIR  :  I  am  aware  that  much  of  your  time  is  occupied,  and 
shall  be  brief  in  my  remarks,  hoping  the  importance  of  the  case 
will  excuse  this  liberty.  A  copy  of  the  memorial  passed  by  the  leg 
islature  at  its  last  session,  together  with  papers  containing  the  ac 
count  of  the  massacre  of  Dr.  Whitman  and  others  at  Waiilatpu  by 
the  Cayuse  Indians,  were  forwarded  to  congress  by  Mr.  J.  L.  Meek. 
I  also  forwarded  an  application  via  California.  As  Mr.  Meek  left 
Walla  Walla  on  the  fourth  ultimo,  he  will,  no  doubt,  reach  you  in 
May.  I  send  with  this  a  file  of  the  Spectator,  and  an  extra  issued 
today,  together  with  my  proclamation,  by  which  you  will  perceive 
that  we  are  carrying  on  a  war  with  the  Indians  of  the  interior. 
Sometime  since,  commissioners  were  sent  up  to  treat  with  the  dif 
ferent  tribes  and  endeavor  to  detach  them  from  the  Cayuses.  They 
effected  a  great  deal;  the  Walla  Wallas,  Nez  Percys,  and  other 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  237 

tribes  accepted  presents  and  declared  they  would  remain  friendly 
with  the  whites  ;  still  there  are  a  great  many  that  will  unite  with 
the  murderers;  all  the  restless  and  turbulent  spirits  among  the  dif 
ferent  tribes,  those  that  were  guilty  of  robbing  the  immigrants  last 
fall,  and  many  who  look  with  a  jealous  eye  on  the  inroads  of  the 
white  man.  So  that  it  is  to  be  feared  that  a  large  party  will  take  to 
the  field  against  us.  Our  settlers  are  scattered  through  the  different 
valleys,  many  of  them  isolated  and  lying  in  such  a  position  that 
they  could  be  swept  off  in  a  night,  and  the  Indians  be  in  the  moun 
tains  out  of  reach  next  morning.  Our  policy  is  to  keep  the  Indian's 
busy  in  protecting  their  families  and  stock  in  their  own  country, 
and  by  this  means  keep  them  out  of  the  valley ;  and  we  hope 
we  shall  succeed,  but  we  have  no  money,  no  munitions  of  war. 
Our  patriotic  volunteers  are  destitute  of  clothing,  tents,  and  pro 
visions,  even  while  in  the  field;  still  they  are  in  good  spirits,  and 
determined  to  fight  to  the  last.  Our  powder  is  gathered  up  in  half 
pounds  and  parcels,  as  the  settlers  have  brought  more  or  less  of  it. 
This  will  soon  give  out.  I  have  written  to  Governor  Mason  of  Cali 
fornia  for  a  supply  of  powder  and  lead,  which  I  hope  will  come  by 
first  opportunity.  I  have  also  written  to  Commodore  Shubrick  to 
send  us  a  sloop-of-war  to  lie  in  our  river  to  show  the  Indians  that 
we  have  force  that  can  be  brought  into  this  country  if  necessary. 
Fear,  and  fear  only,  rules  and  controls  Indians.  Knowing  this, 
they  have  been  informed  that  we  expect  a  man-of-war  this  summer, 
and  as  soon  as  our  great  chief  hears  that  his  people  have  been 
murdered  he  will  send  some  of  his  chiefs  to  punish  the  murderers. 
Should  this  pass  off,  and  we  receive  no  visit  from  our  man-of-war, 
and  no  troops  are  sent  into  the  territory,  our  situation  will  not  be  an 
enviable  one.  The  Indians  will  say,  "All  this  has  been  said  to 
frighten  us.  See,  their  ships  have  not  come ;  their  soldiers  have 
not  come;  do  not  let  us  be  afraid  any  longer."  Probably  a  large 
immigration  will  be  on  their  way  to  this  territory  this  summer.  I 
hope  that  troops  will  accompany  them,  for  the  Indians  are  well 
aware  of  their  route,  and  the  time  of  their  coining,  and  if  not  pro 
tected,  they  will  very  likely  go  on  to  meet  them,  and  rob,  plunder, 
and  murder  all  parties  not  strong  enough  to  resist  them.  Th?v 
robbed  them  last  year  ;  they  will,  I  fear,  proceed  further  this  year. 
I  hope,  sincerely,  that  whether  congress  passes  a  bill  to  extend  the 
jurisdiction  of  the  United  States  over  us  or  not,  that  at  least  one 
regiment  v/ill  be  sent  into  Oregon  to  protect  us  from  the  Indians, 
and  to  protect  immigration  on  their  way  hither.  Colonel  Gilliam, 
as  you  will  perceive  by  the  extra  accompanying  this,  was  acciden 
tally  shot  on  his  way  from  Waiilatpu  to  The  Dalles.  The  colonel 
was  a  brave  man,  and  his  loss  is  much  regretted.  He  was  appointed 
by  your  excellency  to  the  office  of  "agent  of  the  postoffice  depart 
ment,"  Nothing  was  ever  effected  in  that  department,  as  an  adver- 


tisement  was  put  in  the  paper  offering  to  let  contracts,  but  as  the 
contractor  was  only  to  get  his  pay  out  of  the  proceeds  of  the  office, 
and  even  that  could  not  be  guaranteed  to  him  for  four  years,  no 
one  would  enter  into  a  contract  to  carry  the  mail,  consequently 
no  mail  has  been  started  in  tjiis  territory  under  the  authority  of  the 
United  States. 

Feeling  confident  that  you  will  aid  us  in  our  present  difficulties, 
I  have  placed  before  you  briefly  our  situation,  merely  stating  in  con 
clusion,  we  have  told  the  Indians,  in  order  to  prevent  them  uniting 
against  us,  that  troops  and  vessels  of  war  would  soon  be  here. 
I  have  the  honor  to  remain,  your  obedient  servant, 

Governor  of  Oregon. 

One  thing  which  the  president  had  done  was  to  appoint 
Charles  E.  Pickett  Indian  agent  for  Oregon  in  the  spring 
of  1847.  This  appointment  was  very  displeasing  to  Ore- 
gonians,  who  scoffed  at  the  idea  that  "the  government 
could  have  made  its  appearance  in  such  a  shape!" 

Pickett  was  not  even  in  Oregon  when  his  commission 
arrived,  but  was  at  the  Sandwich  Islands,  whence  he  went 
to  California.  He  did  not  seem,  either,  to  be  in  any  haste 
to  assume  his  duties,  when  he  heard  of  his  appointment, 
but  had  been  guilty  of  advising  travelers  to  California: 
"After  you  get  to  the  Siskiyou  mountains,  use  your  pleas 
ure  in  spilling  blood,  but  if  I  were  traveling  with  you, 
from  this  on  to  the  first  sight  of  the  Sacramento  valley, 
my  only  communication  with  these  treacherous,  cowardly, 
untamable  rascals  would  be  through  my  rifle.  The  char 
acter  of  their  country  precludes  the  idea  of  making  peace 
with  them,  or  ever  maintaining  treaties  if  made;  so  that 
philanthropy  must  be  set  aside  in  cases  of  necessity  while 
self-preservation  here  dictates  these  savages  being  killed  off 
as  soon  as  possible."3 

However  true  this  estimate  of  the  character  of  the  Shasta 
Indians  may  have  been,  it  was  ill  advice,  since  every 
death  inflicted  on  these  "rascals,"  even  in  self-defense, 
was  sure  to  be  avenged,  and  upon  any  person  of  the  white 

*  Oregon  Spectator,  April  29, 1847. 


race,  however  innocent,1  who  might  come  in  their  way, 
and  not  once  only,  but  over  and  over.  This  fact  was  well 
understood  by  the  pioneers,  who  were  careful  not  to  spill 
Indian  blood  without  cause. 

To  Pickett,  Governor  Abernethy  addressed  a  letter 
asking  him  to  endeavor  to  procure  assistance  from  the 
commander  who  had  relieved  Commodore  Shubrick  — 
Thomas  Ap.  C.  Jones.  Jones  replied  that  had  he  any 
vessel  to  spare  he  would  gladly  send  it  to  the  Columbia 
river,  but  that  he  only  had  three  in  his  command  with 
which  to  hold  the  Mexican  ports,  and  for  all  other  pur 
poses  on  the  coast,  the  others  being  sent  home;  but  if 
those  expected  out  arrived,  he  would  send  one  to  Oregon. 
The  United  States  commissioner  at  the  Sandwich  Islands, 
A.  Ten  Eyck,  Esq.,  on  June  fifth,  also  addressed  a»letter  to 
Commodore  Jones  upon  the  subject.  Ten  Eyck's  letter 
revealed  the  fact  that  a  communication  had  been  sent  to 
him  by  some  of  the  anti-British  and  anti-Hudson's  bay 
people  of  Oregon  representing  that  ill  feeling  existed 
between  the  Americans  and  the  fur  company,  which  had 
furnished  arms  and  ammunition  to  the  Indians,  and  other 
wise  aided  them  in  their  hostilities  against  the  settlers; 
that  an  angry  correspondence  had  taken  place  between 
Governor  Abernethy  and  Mr.  Douglas;  that  the  volun 
teers  had  threatened  Vancouver,  and  that  Mr.  Douglas 
had  written  the  company's  agent  at  the  islands  to  send  an 
English  man-of-war  to  the  Columbia.  "Our  people," 
added  Ten  Eyck,  "are  very  poor,  and  are  much  in  need  of 
arms  and  ammunition,  and  are  much  alarmed.  Having 
good  reason  to  credit  these  rumors,  I  do  not  hesitate  to 
request  that  you  lose  no  time  in  dispatching  such  force  as 
you  can  spare  from  the  squadron,  and  as  the  exigencies  of 
the  case  may  seem  to  require  to  the  Columbia  river." 

A  copy  of  this   letter  having  been  sent  to  Governor 

4  Pickett  was  an  immigrant  of  1843;  county  judge  of  Clackamas  county  in  1845, 
and  appointed  Indian  agent  in  1847.  He  did  not  serve,  but  became  somewhat  con 
spicuous  in  California  by  his  writings. 


Abernethy  by  the  ship  Eveline,  the  governor  replied  a 
month  later,  that  the  troubles  in  the  country  were  in  a 
measure  settled,  and  the  army  disbanded,  except  the  few 
men  at  the  forts,  which  they  would  hold  until  the  United 
States  troops  arrived  to  relieve  them,  which  arrivals  he 
hoped  would  be  next  month.  He  corrected  the  rumors  of 
hostile  acts  or  feelings  between  the  settlers  and  the  Hud 
son's  Bay  Company,  and  denied  that  any  angry  corre 
spondence  had  taken  place  between  himself  and  Mr. 

The  outcome  of  all  this  correspondence,  anxiety,  and 
waiting  was  the  receipt,  after  the  danger  had  passed,  of 
the  aid  so  long  solicited  in  arms  and  ammunition.  Major 
Hardie,  on  his  return  to  California,  forwarded  one  hun 
dred  rifles,  twenty-five  thousand  rifle  cartridges,  and  two 
hundred  pounds  of  rifle  powder,  with  two  six-pound  iron 
guns  and  carriages,  and  ammunition  for  the  same.  Lieu 
tenant  E.  O.  C.  Ord,  of  the  third  artillery,  forwarded  one 
six-pound  brass  gun,  with  two  hundred  and  ten  strapped 
shot,  seventy  canister-shot,  twenty-eight  spherical  shot, 
and  other  artillery  service,  five  hundred  muskets,  with 
their  fixtures,  and  fifty  thousand  ball,  with  a  large  amount 
of  ammunition.5  Fortunately  for  the  peace  of  the  colony, 
these  military  stores  did  not  arrive  while  the  American 
blood  was  at  fever  heat  with  wrongs  real  and  fancied;  but 
in  time  to  give  a  feeling  of  security  to  that  portion  of  the 
inhabitants  who  remained  when  the  majority  of  the  able- 
bodied  men  had  rushed  off  to  the  gold  fields  of  California 
the  same  year. 

The  discovery  of  gold  to  a  people  so  poor  in  money  and 
goods  as  were  the  colonists  of  Oregon,  was  an  inestimable 
boon,  solving  many  a  difficult  problem,  and  diverting 
their  thoughts  from  the  late  troubles,  and  the  neglect  of 
the  federal  government,  which  was  again  aggravatingly 

•'•The  invoices  were  dated  June  twenty-seventh  and  July  tenth,  respectively. 
They  arrived  by  the  Henry  August  ninth  :  Oregon  Spectator,  September  7, 1848. 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  241 

displayed  by  the  non-appearance  in  the  autumn  of  the 
long-looked  for  regiment  of  mounted  riflemen.  A  hope  of 
this  promised  relief  from  the  dangers  which  threatened 
him,  had  undoubtedly,  they  believed,  led  Dr.  Whitman 
into  the  attitude  of  seeming  to  defy  the  Cayuses,  even  be 
fore  the  sickness  broke  out  which  had  exasperated  them 
still  further,  and  so  became  instead  of  a  protection  a 
motive  for  his  death.  Until  it  was  well  into  the  winter, 
every  express  from  Fort  Hall  brought  the  message,  "No 
news  yet  of  any  troops  on  the  road."  Spring  came,  and 
still  no  news.  Summer  wore  away  in  keeping  the  war  in 
the  Indian  country.  The  immigration  arrived  with  the 
discouraging  intelligence  that  the  Oregon  regiment  had 
been  ordered  to  Mexico,  and  nothing  was  known  of  its 
future  destination.  The  murderers  were  still  at  large,  but 
like  Cain  of  old,  had  been  driven  into  strange  lands,  and 
the  places  that  had  known  them  knew  them  no  more. 

Then  the  colonists  drew  a  long  breath,  and  hearing  of 
the  gold  fields  of  the  Sacramento  valley,  every  ragged 
soldier  who  could  take  a  share  in  an  ox  team  and  wagon 
load  of  provisions,  set  off  to  conquer  fortune.  Many  died, 
worn  out  by  the  privations  of  soldiering  and  mining  life, 
but  the  majority  returned  with  more  or  less  of  the  precious 
dust,  stored  up  in  tin  cans,  pickle  bottles,  or  whatever  ves 
sel  they  could  find  that  would  hold  fast  the  elusive  atoms. 
Those  that  remained  harvested  the  fields,  and  sold  the 
crops  for  a  good  price  in  cash.  The  legislature  of  1848- 
1849  passed  a  coinage  act,  under  which  about  fifty  thou 
sand  dollars  were  minted,  which  helped  to  relieve  the 
embarrassment  in  making  exchanges  until  such  time  as 
the  United  States  began  the  coinage  of  gold  in  San 

In  the  meantime,  the  messenger  dispatched  to  Washing 
ton  with  memorials,  and  an  account  of  the  Waiilatpu 
tragedy,  had  been  able  to  stir  congress  to  definite  action 
in  the  matter  of  establishing  a  territorial  government  over 
Oregon,  which  was  to  all  intents  and  purposes  already  a 



state,  independent,  but  poor  and  loyal.  What  might  have 
happened,  under  so  much  provocation,  had  gold  been  dis 
covered  two  or  three  years  earlier,  the  speculative  mind 
may  conceive.  But  in  all  its  memorials  Oregon  had  ever 
professed  its  attachment  to  the  federal  government,  on 
which  it  still  humbly  waited. 

On  the  fourteenth  of  August  the  act  was  passed  which 
brought  Oregon  under  the  operation  of  United  States  laws. 
General  Joseph  Lane  was  appointed  governor,  and  with 
Meek,  who  was  given  the  appointment  of  marshal  of  the 
territory,  urged  to  hasten  to  his  field  of  dut}^  where  he 
arrived  March  2,  1849,  and  issued  his  proclamation  on  the 
following  day,  giving  Oregon  one  day  under  President 
Polk,  who  had  been  elected  on  the  "  fifty-four-forty-or- 
fight "  sentiment  of  the  democracy  in  1844,  and  therefore 
desired  this  honor. 

Lane,  by  virtue  of  his  office,  was  also  superintendent  of 
Indian  affairs,  and  applied  himself  at  once  to  the  settle 
ment  of  minor  difficulties  occurring  near  the  settlements 
on  the  south  side  of  the  Columbia,  and  to  the  restoration 
of  peace  between  the  Klickitats  and  Walla  Wallas  who 
were  at  enmity  on  the  north  side.  Early  in  May  a  more 
serious  danger  arose  from  a  design  formed  by  Patkanim, 
chief  of  the  Snoqualimichs,  to  capture  Fort  Nisqually  of 
the  Hudson's  Bay  Company,  and  to  drive  away  or  kill  off 
the  American  settlers  at  the  head  of  the  sound.  The  plan 
was  cunningty  laid,  after  the  Indian  manner,  to  capture 
the  fort  first,  and .  secure  the  ammunition  therein,  after 
which  the  rest  would  have  been  easy.  In  order  to  obtain 
an  entrance,  and  disarm  suspicion,  the  Snoqualimichs 
pretended  some  occasion  for  hostilities  against  the  Nis- 
quallies,  a  harmless  band  employed  by  the  Puget  Sound 
Agricultural  Company  as  herdsmen,  and  appeared  near 
the  fort  in  their  war  paint.  Patkanim  insinuated  himself 
inside  the  stockade,  ostensibly  to  have  a  gun  mended; 
really,  it  was  believed,  to  give  a  signal.  At  the  same  time 
a  party  of  Americans  approached  the  gate  of  the  fort,  and 

TEE   GAYUSE  WAR.  243 

seeing  the  Indians  in  war  costume  were  endeavoring 
hurriedly  to  get  in,  when  a  volley  from  the  guns  of  the 
Snoqualimichs  followed  the  discharge  of  a  gun  within  the 
fort,  and  Leander  C.  Wallace,  a  young  American,  fell 
dead,  another  was  wounded  mortally,  and  a  third  wounded 
who  survived.  The  gates  were  closed  at  the  same  instant, 
excluding  both  Indians  and  Americans,  and  firing  from 
the  bastions  soon  silenced  the  former.  However,  when 
Dr.  Tolmie,  who  was  in  charge,  went  out  to  bring  in  the 
body  of  Wallace,  he  was  aimed  at  by  a  Snoqualimich. 
The  assassin  was  checked  by  a  Snohomish  Indian  present, 
who  reproved  him,  saying,  "Harm  enough  done  for  one 

Repulsed,  and  comprehending  that  they  had  failed  in 
their  design,  the  Indians  retired,  but  later  sent  word  to 
the  American  settlers  that  they  would  be  permitted  to 
leave  the  country  by  abandoning  their  property.  To  this 
the  settlers  replied  that  they  had  come  to  stay,  and  forth 
with  began  to  erect  block-houses  for  defense  at  Turn  water 
and  Skookum  Chuck. 

This  affair  caused  Governor  Lane  to  make  a  journey  to 
the  sound  country,  accompanied  by  the  only  United  States 
force  then  in  the  territory  —  Lieutenant  Hawkins  and  five 
men  remaining  from  the  governor's  escort  across  the  plains, 
the  others  having  deserted  in  California.  The  governor 
carried  with  him  arms  and  ammunition  for  the  settlers. 
At  Tumwater  he  was  overtaken  by  an  express  from  Van 
couver,  informing  him  of  the  arrival  in  the  river  of  the 
United  States  propeller  Massachusetts,  having  on  board 
two  companies  of  artillery,  under  Brevet-Major  Hathaway, 
who  sent  him  word  that  if  expedient,  a  part  of  his  force 
could  be  moved  at  once  to  the  sound.  On  receiving  this 
dispatch,  Lane  returned  to  the  Columbia  without  visiting 
Nisqually,  sending,  however,  a  letter  to  Dr.  Tolrnie,  request 
ing  him  to  inform  the  Indians  that  now  he  was  prepared 
to  punish  any  outrages,  and  they  could  govern  themselves 
accordingly;  also  requesting  that  no  ammunition  should 


be  furnished  the  Indians  by  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company. 

Arrived  at  Vancouver,  he  found  the  Massachusetts 
about  to  proceed  to  Portland,  to  be  loaded  with  lumber 
for  the  use  of  the  government  in  building  quarters  for  the 
troops  stationed  at  Benicia,  California,  and  Major  Hatha 
way  encamped  in  the  rear  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company's 
fort,  with  one  company  of  artillery,  while  the  other  com 
pany,  under  Captain  B.  II.  Hill,  had  been  left  at  Astoria, 
in  quarters  built  by  the  crew  of  the  wrecked  Shark  in 
1846.  The  whole  force  consisted  of  one  hundred  and 
sixty-one,  rank  and  file,  being  companies  L  and  M,  first 
regiment  of  United  States  artillery.0  It  was  arranged 
that  Captain  Hill  should  proceed  to  the  sound  and  estab 
lish  a  post  near  Nisqually  before  demanding  the  surrender 
of  the  murderers  of  the  Americans. 

Meantime,  the  government  had  commissioned  three  sub- 
Indian  agents,  namety,  George  C.  Preston,  J.  Q.  Thornton, 
and  Robert  Newell;  but  Preston  not  arriving,  Oregon  was 
divided  into  two  districts,  and  Thornton  assigned  to  the 
north  of  the  Columbia,  while  Newell  had  charge  of  the 
Indians  south  of  the  river.  Late  in  July  Thornton  visited 
the  sound,  where  he  spent  several  weeks  in  obtaining 
information  which  could  have  been  obtained  in  a  day  from 
Dr.  Tolmie,  and  offered  a  reward  of  eighty  blankets,  worth 
about  five  hundred  dollars,  to  the  Snoqualmie  tribe  for 
the  surrender  of  the  murderers  of  the  Americans,  besides 
having  the  captain  of  the  English  vessel,  which  trans 
ported  Hill's  company  to  Nisqually,  arrested  for  giving 
the  customary  grog  to  the  Indians  and  half-breeds  who 
were  hired  to  discharge  the  vessel. 

These  proceedings  offended  the  governor,,  whose  author 
ity  as  superintendent  of  Indian  affairs  was  ignored,  and 
Thornton  soon  resigned,  leaving  Indian  matters  on  the 
sound  in  the  hands  of  Captain  Hill,  who,  by  the  month 

6  The  officers,  besides  Major  Hathaway  and  Captain  Hill,  were  First  Lieutenants 
J.  B.  Gibson  and  T.  Talbot,  Second  Lieutenants  G.  Tallmadge  and  J.  Dement,  Second 
Lieutenant  J.  J.  Woods,  quartermaster  and  commissary,  and  Second  Lieutenant  J. 
B.  Fry,  adjutant. 


of  August,  was  established  at  Fort  Steilacoom.  In  Sep 
tember  the  guilty  Indians  were  surrendered,  and  in  October 
two  of  the  chief  participants  in  the  crime,  Kassas  and 
Quallawort,  a  brother  of  Patkanim,  were  tried  and  exe 
cuted.  This  trial  cost  the  United  States  about  three  thou 
sand  dollars.  During  the  following  winter  one  of  the 
artillerymen  of  Fort  Steilacoom  was  murdered,  but  the 
crime  could  not  be  fixed  upon  any  individual,  and  went 

It  is  but  justice  here  to  record  the  fact  that  the  sup 
pression  of  hostilities  in  this  region  at  this  period  of  its 
history,  was  due  largely  to  the  influence  of  the  Hudson's 
Bay  Company,  and  personally  to  Dr.  Tolmie,  whose  knowl 
edge  and  good  judgment  were  powerful  to  avert  hostilities.7 

As  to  the  arrest  of  the  Cay  use  murderers,  that  could  not 
be  undertaken  by  the  new  government  before  the  arrival 
of  the  rifle  regiment.  That  body,  after  being  recruited  at 
Fort  Leaven  worth,  set  out  for  Oregon  May  10,  1849,  with 
about  six  hundred  men,  thirty-one  commissioned  officers, 
several  women  and  children,  one  hundred  and  sixty 
wagons,  teamsters,  guides,  and  train  agents,  nearly  two 
thousand  mules  and  horses,  and  subsistence  for  the  whole, 
the  officer  in  command  being  Brevet-Colonel  W.  W.  Loring. 

Posts  were  established  at  Laramie  and  Fort  Hall,  where 
two  companies  each  were  left.  Cholera,  which  had  broken 
out  among  the  immigration,  to  California,  carried  off  a 
considerable  number  of  the  ill-conditioned  recruits,  and 
desertion  to  the  gold  mines  as  many  more.  A  herd  of  beef 
cattle  and  other  supplies  intended  to  meet  the  regiment  at 
Fort  Hall8  having  taken  the  southern  route,  and  being 
late  in  starting,  failed  to  meet  Loring's  command,  which 

7  Notwithstanding  this  truth,  there  are  several  letters  in  the  Oregon  Archives,  MS. 
numbered  from  nine  hundred  and  fifty-one  to  nine  hundred  and  fifty-seven,  which 
show  an  attempt  to  convict  Tolmie  of  influencing  the  Indians  against  the  American 

8  The  supply  train  sent  from  Oregon  consisted  of  fifteen  freight  wagons  and  a 
herd  of  fat  cattle.    The  expedition  was  commanded  by  Lieutenant  Hawkins  of 
Lane's  escort,  and  piloted  by  the  late  commissary-general,  Joel  Palmer,  who,  when 
within  a  few  days  of  Fort  Hall,  turned  back  and  took  charge  of  a  train  to  California. 


was  thus  reduced  to  short  rations  and  insufficient  clothing. 

On  arriving  at  The  Dalles  the  men  presented  the  appear 
ance,  familiar  to  Oregon  immigrants,  of  naked  feet  and 
limbs  hardly  concealed  by  the  tattered  remains  of  cloth 
ing,  their  horses  too  worn  out  to  carry  them,  and  their 
own  strength  almost  exhausted.  They  found  the  means 
of  transportation  down  the  Columbia  to  consist  of  three 
rnackinaw  boats,  one  yawl,  four  canoes,  and  one  whale- 
boat.  A  raft  constructed  to  carry  several  tons  of  goods, 
chiefly  private,  and  placed  in  charge  of  eight  men,  was 
wrecked  in  the  rapids  at  the  cascades,  and  six  of  the  men 
drowned.  That  part  of  the  command  which  took  the 
wagon  road  over  the  mountains  at  the  base  of  Mount 
Hood,  lost  two-thirds  of  their  horses.  The  whole  loss  of 
government  property  on  the  march  from  Leavenworth 
was  forty-five  freight  wagons,  one  ambulance,  and  over 
three  hundred  horses  and  mules.  The  number  of  men 
who  died  and  deserted  was  seventy. 

On  arriving  at  their  destination,  the  mounted  riflemen 
found  no  quarters  provided  for  them,  and  were  housed  for 
the  winter  in  rented  tenements  in  Oregon  City  at  a  great 
expense.  In  May,  1849,  Captain  Rufus  Ingalls  had  been 
directed  by  the  chief  of  the  quartermaster's  department 
of  the  Pacific  division  to  go  to  Oregon  and  establish  posts. 
He  arrived  on  the  Anita  at  Vancouver  soon  after  Hatha 
way  landed  his  command  at  that  place,  but  the  Walpole 
which  followed  with  two  years'  supplies  being  chartered 
for  Astoria,  landed  the  stores  at  the  mouth  of  the  river, 
whence  they  had  to  be  conveyed  at  great  labor  and  ex 
pense  to  Vancouver  by  means  of  the  small  craft  in  use  on 
the  Columbia,  consuming  much  time  in  the  transferance. 
Nor  was  this  the  only  obstacle  to  dispatch.  There  were 
wanting  both  the  material  for  building  barracks  and  the 
mechanics  and  laborers  to  perform  the  work;  and  that 
which  was  accomplished  was  done  by  artillerymen  at  a 
dollar  a  day  extra  pay  for  cutting  and  hauling  timber  out 
of  the  woods,  and  rafting  lumber  from  the  Hudson's  Bay 


Company's  mill,  six  miles  above  Vancouver.  Even  with 
the  help  of  the  company  in  procuring  Indian  labor,  and 
furnishing  such  transportation  as  was  in  their  power,  slow 
progress  was  made.  At  length  the  command  of  Major 
Hathaway  was  housed  in  such  quarters  as  were  provided 
by  adapting  several  buildings  belonging  to  the  company, 
and  erecting  others  of  logs.9 

In  September,  1849,  General  Persifer  F.  Smith,  com 
mander  of  the  Pacific  division,  arrived  in  Oregon  with  the 
chief  quartermaster,  H.  D.  Vinton,  with  the  object  of 
making  locations  for  military  posts.  They  approved  the 
selections  already  made,  but  abandoned  the  design  of  a 
post  on  the  road  to  California  through  the  apprehension 
that  the  soldiery,  if  placed  on  the  route  to  the  gold  mines, 
would  desert.  To  prevent  desertion,  he  directed  Major 
Hathaway  to  remove  his  command  to  Astoria  early  the 
following  spring,  Colonel  Loring  to  take  possession  of  the 
barracks  at  Vancouver  with  the  rifle  regiment,  a  part  of 
which  was  to  be  sent  to  The  Dalles,  and  to  be  emplo3^ed  at 
both  places  in  cutting  timber  for  the  necessary  buildings. 

Before  these  arrangements  could  be  carried  out,  one  hun 
dred  and  twenty  of  the  riflemen  deserted,  and  took  the 
road  to  California,  behaving  so  discreetly  as  to  excite  no 
suspicion  of  their  real  character  among  the  settlers,  pre 
tending  to  be  a  government  expedition,  and  getting  their 
supplies  on  credit  of  the  farmers.  Governor  Lane  and 
Colonel  Loring  pursued,  and  overtook  one  division  of 
seventy  men  in  the  Umpqua  valley,  with  whom  Lane 
returned  to  Oregon  City  about  the  middle  of  April. 
Loring  followed 'the  trail  of  the  others  into  the  snows  of 
the  Siskiyou  mountains,  securing  only  seven  more,  and 
having  experienced  much  hardship,  as  also .  had  the 
deserters,  a  number  of  whom  were  believed  to  have  per 
ished,  as  they  were  never  heard  from. 

9  The  only  title  to  lands  in  Oregon  at  this  period  was  that  conferred  by  the  organic 
act  of  the  territory  upon  mission  sites,  and  the  supposed  possessory  rights  of  the 
Hudson's  Bay  Company.  It  was  thought  safer  to  establish  a  garrison  on  land  which 
could  be  purchased  of  the  company  than  to  take  it  elsewhere.  Steilacoom  also  was 
planted  on  land  leased  from  the  Puget  Sound  agricultural  company. 


The  artillerymen  were  finally  removed  to  Astoria,  and 
the  riflemen  to  Vancouver,  where  they  were  put  to  work 
constructing  buildings  on  the  ground  declared  a  military 
reservation  in  the  following  October.  In  May,  Major  S.  S. 
Tucker  was  ordered  to  The  Dalles  with  two  companies  of 
riflemen  to  establish  a  supply  post.  He  declared  a  reser 
vation  ten  miles  square,  and  proceeded  to  erect  suitable 
buildings  about  one  mile  back  from  the  river.  As  the 
reservation  at  Vancouver  covered  a  tract  four  miles  square, 
and  at  Astoria  included  lands  settled  upon  and  improved, 
there  was  much  dissatisfaction.  But  when  Major  Loring 
attempted  to  reserve  for  an  arsenal  the  land  of  Meek  and 
Luelling  at  Milwaukie,  planted  with  the  first  fruit  trees  in 
the  territory,  the  resentment  of  the  pioneers  reached  a 
climax,  and  congress  was  informed  that  the  Oregonians 
would  hereafter  fight  their  Indian  wars  alone,  and  the 
mounted  rifle  regiment  could  be  withdrawn  at  any  mo 
ment  !  That  these  impositions  were  afterwards  corrected 
did  not  lessen  the  indignation  engendered  at  the  time. 

In  the  meantime,  no  attempt  was  made  by  the  military 
authorities  to  arrest  the  Cayuse  murderers,  although  Lane 
had,  ever  since  his  arrival,  been  carrying  on  negotiations 
with  the  Indians  in  the  interior  to  secure  their  capture 
without  compulsion.  Immediately  after  his  return  from 
the  Umpqua  with  the  deserting  riflemen,  he  received  word 
that  five  of  the  Cayuses  had  surrendered  themselves  to  be 
tried,  and  escorted  by  Lieutenant  J.  McL.  Addison  with 
ten  men,  went  to  receive  them  at  The  Dalles.  He  found 
there  Tiloukaikt,  Tamahas,  Klokamas,  Isaiachaiakis,  and 
Kiamasumpkin,  with  their  friends  and  relatives.10  By 
what  arguments  they  had  been  persuaded  to  give  thern- 
f  selves  up  has  never  been  revealed.  Blanchet  says  that 
they  only  consented  to  come  down  to  hold  a  talk  with  the 
officers  of  the  government;  but  that  does  not  seem  prob- 

10The  witnesses  at  the  trial  did  not  always  identify  the  murderers.  They  swore 
to  seeing  Tiloukaikt,  his  son  Edward,  Ishholhol,  Frank  Escaloom,  Klokamas,  Tam- 
sucky,  Joe  Lewis,  I  Tamahas,  and  Isiaasheluckus  kill  certain  of  the  victims.  Kiama 
sumpkin  was  not  named  by  them,  though  he  confessed  his  guilt  by  giving  himself  up. 

THE   CAYUSE  WAE.  249 

able  under  the  circumstances.  It  is  certain  they  offered 
ample  pay  in  horses  to  be  successfully  defended,  from 
which  it  would  appear  they  expected  to  stand  trial. 

The  heart  and  mind  of  the  savage  is  a  wild  stock  on 
which  it  is  idle  to  attempt  to  graft  an  advanced  civiliza 
tion  and  have  it  bear  perfect  fruit.  Tiloukaikt,  the  chief 
of  these  criminals,  when  curiously  questioned  by  his 
captors  concerning  his  motive  in  giving  himself  up,  asked: 
"Did  not  your  missionaries  teach  us  that  Christ  died  to 
save  his  people?  Thus  die  we,  if  we  must,  to  save  our 
people."  Yet  he  had  no  remorse  at  having  slain  his 
teachers,  and  when  offered  food  from  the  soldiers'  mess, 
scorned  to  taste  it,  asking,  "  What  hearts  have  you  to  offer 
me  of  your  food,  whose  hands  are  red  with  your  brother's 

It  is  probable  that  the  Cayuses  recognized  the  fact  that 
theirs  was  a  case  requiring  a  desperate  remedy.  The  long 
threatened  soldiery  of  the  United  States  had  made  their 
appearance,  and  while  they,  the  Indians,  could  not  buy 
ammunition,  their  enemies  now  had  it  in  abundance.  For 
two  years  they  had  roamed  about,  and  peace  was  farther 
off  than  ever,  with  power  accumulating  against  them. 
Where  hundreds  of  white  men  had  come  from  the  east 
before,  thousands  were  coming  now  to  the  Pacific  coast, 
and  there  would  be  no  end  of  this  migration  with  which 
they  had  been  threatened.  Perhaps  white  men  who  un 
derstood  the  laws  of  their  people  could  free  them;  if  not, 
it  was  only  death,  at  the  worst;  and  they  were  not  afraid 
to  die. 

The  prisoners  were  brought  to  Oregon  City,  and  confined 
on  an  island  in  the  midst  of  the  falls,  connected  with  the 
mainland  by  a  bridge,  which  was  guarded  by  a  detachment 
of  riflemen  under  Lieutenant  W.  B.  Lane.  The  trial  was 
set  for  the  twenty-second  of  May,  the  prosecution  being  con 
ducted  by  United  States  district  attorney  Amory  Holbrook, 
and  the  defense  undertaken  by  the  territorial  secretary, 
Knitzing  Pritchett,  assisted  by  R.  B.  Reynolds,  paymaster, 


and  Thomas  Claiborne,  Jr.,  captain  of  the  rifle  regiment. 
As  there  was  no  doubt  of  the  guilt  of  the  accused,  which 
was  sufficiently  established  on  evidence,  the  defense  took 
the  ground  that  at  the  date  of  the  massacre  the  laws  of 
the  United  States  had  not  been  extended  over  Oregon; 
the  court  ruling  out  this  plea  by  citations  of  the  act  of 
congress  of  1834,  regulating  intercourse  with  Indians, 
and  the  boundary  treaty  of  1846,  which  confirmed  to  the 
United  States  all  of  the  Oregon  territory  south  of  the  forty- 
ninth  parallel.  The  judge,  0.  C.  Pratt,  might  have  added 
that  the  organic  law  of  the  territory  confirmed  the  laws 
of  the  provisional  government  of  Oregon  not  in  conflict 
with  the  laws  of  the  United  States. 

Claiborne  endeavored  to  show  that  in  1834  Oregon  was 
in  joint  occupancy  with  Great  Britain,  and  that  jurisdic 
tion  was  barred,  and  quoted  the  act  of  eminent  domain  to 
make  it  appear  that  Great  Britain  could  still  object  to 
these  proceedings  should  she  choose.  The  questions  being 
argued,  Judge  Pratt  decided  that  exclusive  jurisdiction 
over  Oregon  being  vested  in  congress  by  the  treaty  of  1846, 
the  act  of  1834  ipso  facto  came  into  force  in  the  territory, 
whose  jurisdiction  was  undoubted.  Olaiborne  then  peti 
tioned  for  a  change  of  venue,  which  was  refused. 

The  jurymen  called  were  thirty-eight,  out  of  which 
number  all  the  older  settlers,  or  those  liable  to  be  embit 
tered  against  the  Indians,  were  carefully  excluded.11  It 
could  not  therefore  be  said  that  a  fair  trial  was  not  accorded 
the  Cayuses,  or  that  their  attorneys  overlooked  any  loop 
hole  of  escape.  They,  indeed,  argued  that  the  death  of 
Dr.  Whitman  was  brought  about  by  a  combination  of  cir 
cumstances;  that  there  was  no  absolute  proof  that  the 
prisoners  were  the  actual  murderers,  the  evidence  of  the 
witnesses  being  confused  and  more  or  less  conflicting;  and 
that  in  any  case  the  death  of  wives  and  children  among 

n  The  jury  accepted  were  J.  D.  Hunsaker,  A.  Jackson,  Hiram  Straight,  Wm.  Par- 
rott,  Wm.  Cason,  A.  Post,  Samuel  Welch,  Joseph  Alfrey,  John  Dinman,  Anson  Cohen, 
John  Ellenburg,  and  A.  B.  Holcoinb. 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  251 

the  Cayuses  was  provocation  to  justify  revenge  in  the  sav 
age  mind  —  all  of  which,  however  true,  was  futile  to 
unsettle  the  conviction  in  civilized  minds  that  the  death 
penalty  alone  could  secure  indemnity  from  similar  atroci 
ties  in  the  future.  The  verdict  of  the  jury  was,  "guilty  as 
charged,"  and  the  sentence  of  the  judge  was  that  they  be 
hung  on  the  third  of  June.  A  new  trial  was  asked  for 
and  denied.  Governor  Lane  being  absent  in  the  southern 
mines  at  the  time,  Pritchett  declared  his  intention,  as 
acting  governor,  of  reprieving  the  condemned  Indians 
until  an  appeal  could  be  taken  to  the  supreme  court  of 
the  United  States.  These  declarations  caused  much  ex 
citement,  and  the  marshal  of  the  territory  was  at  a  loss 
how  to  proceed;  but  Pratt  instructed  him  that  as  there 
was  no  certain  evidence  that  Lane  was  absent  from  the 
territory,  Pritchett's  acts  would  be  unauthorized.  This 
opinion  coming  to  the  ears  of  the  secretary,  he  withdrew 
his  opposition,  and  the  execution  took  place  as  ordered. 

All  through  the  trial  perfect  order  and  decorum  pre 
vailed.  There  was  some  fear  that  a  rescue  might  be 
attempted  on  the  day  of  execution,  and  many  persons 
present  came  armed,  but  here  again  perfect  order  was 
maintained.  Father  Veyret  (Catholic)  attended  the 
doomed  men  to  the  scaffold,  and,  according  to  Blanchet, 
exclaimed,  "Onward,  onward  to  heaven,  children;  into 
thy  hands,  0  Lord  Jesus,  I  commend  my  spirit."  Let  us 
hope  the  unhappy  creatures  were  comforted.  Thus  was 
completed  the  final  act  of  the  most  tragic  chapter  in 
Orgon's  history  for  many  years. 

Taking  into  consideration  the  condition  of  the  country 
at  the  time  of  the  Cayuse  war,  and  the  rush  of  event  fol 
lowing  it,  the  papers  and  accounts  relating  to  it  were  pre 
served  with  remarkable  care,  and  the  business  transacted 
in  the  main  with  fidelity.  The  last  provisional  legislature 
of  1848-1849  was  informed  by  Governor  Abernethy  in  his 
message  that  "the  expenses  incurred  for  the  services  of 


privates  and  non-cocomissioned  officers  in  accordance  with 
an  act  passed  twenty-eight  of  December,  1847,  allowing 
one  dollar  and  fifty  cents  per  day,  amounts  to  one  hun 
dred  and  nine  thousand  three  hundred  and  eleven  dol 
lars  and  fifty  cents;  in  addition  to  this  will  be  the  pay  of 
the  officers  and  persons  employed  in  the  several  depart 
ments  connected  with  the  army.  This  will  devolve  upon 
you  to  arrange  during  your  present  session;  until  it  is 
done  the  total  expenses  of  the  war  cannot  be  ascertained." 

Many  of  the  volunteers  being  in  immediate  need  of  pay 
ment,  he  recommended  that  a  law  should  be  enacted 
authorizing  the  issuance  of  scrip  made  redeemable  as 
early  as  possible,  and  bearing  interest  until  paid,  as  it 
ultimately  would  be,  by  the  United  States.  As  is  usual 
in  such  cases,  many  persons  were  compelled  or  persuaded 
to  part  with  their  scrip  for  less  than  its  face  value  to  others 
who  could  afford  to  wait,  and  thus  were  deprived  of  the 
compensation  intended  for  their  severe  fatigues  and  hard 

A  resolution  was  adopted  by  the  legislature  early  in  Feb 
ruary,  1849,  calling  for  reports  "from  the  adjutant-general 
of  the  names,  number,  and  grade,  with  the  number  in 
each  grade  of  all  military  officers  in  the  territory  since  the 
twenty-second  day  of  December,  1847,  with  the  date  of 
their  commissions,  together  with  a  complete  roll  of  all 
officers  and  men  engaged  at  any  time  since  the  tenth  of 
December,  1847,  by  the  war  department,  their  rank,  grade, 
and  time  of  service,  how  long  each  actually  served,  and 
whether  any,  arid  who,  quit  the  service  without  being 
duly  discharged  by  the  proper  officer;  what  proclamations 
and  military  orders  have  been  issued  since  the  twenty- 
eighth  of  December,  1847,  by  the  governor  or  commander- 
in-chief  of  the  militia,  and  whether  the  same  have  been 
recorded,  and  if  not,  why  not;  what  orders  he  had  issued 
as  received  from  the  governor  or  commander-in-chief,  and 
whether  they  have  been  recorded,  and  if  not,  why  not; 
whether  he  issued  forms  to  all  officers  required  to  make 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  253 

returns,  and  what  returns  he  has  received  from  military 
officers,  and  the  names  of  each  officer  making  the  same, 
and  whether  said  returns  have  been  duly  recorded,  and  if 
not,  why  not;  whether  any  person  authorized  by  law  to 
receive  military  stores  or  funds  for  obtaining  the  same, 
and  who  has  reported  to  him  the  kind  of  funds  or  stores 
so  received,  and  to  whom  the  same  were  delivered,  and  if 
so,  whether  the  said  reports  have  been  recorded,  and  if 
not,  why  not;  also  if  any  such  report  has  been  made  to 
deposit  with  the  clerk  of  this  house  for  the  use  of  the 
members  during  the  present  session;  whether  the  commis 
sary-general  has  reported  to  him  the  manner  in  which  he 
has  expended  or  disposed  of  military  funds  or  stores,  and 
if  so,  whether  said  report  has  been  recorded,  and  if  not, 
why  not;  and  also  to  deposit  said  report  with  the  clerk 
for  the  use  of  the  house;  whether  he  has  reported  quar 
terly  to  the  governor  the  state  of  the  militia  and  military 
stores,  and  if  not,  why  not;  together  with  all  other  official 
acts  of  his  pertaining  to  the  office  of  adjutant-general 
which  he  may  deem  of  use  to  the  legislature  in  adjusting 
the  several  matters  growing  out  of  the  late  war."12 

By  a  similarly  detailed  resolution  the  commissioners 
appointed  to  negotiate  loans  were  required  to  report  to  the 
legislature,  and  did  so  as  follows: — 

To  the  Honorable,  the  Legislative  Assembly  of  Oregon  Territory  : 

GENTLEMEN  :  I  present  you  with  a  schedule  of  our  transactions 
as  loan  commissioners  for  the  territory.  In  accordance  with  our 
duties  as  loan  commissioners,  we  have  paid  over  with  the  exception 
of  forty-two  dollars  and  seven  cents,  all  moneys  and  available  means 
to  the  commissary-general,  for  which  we  have  obtained  his  vouchers, 
with  an  account  of  which  you  are  no\v  presented.  It  will  be  found 
on  examination  that  we  have  issued  more  bonds  than  we  have 
vouchers  for,  to  meet  \vhich  discrepancy  we  have  a  draft  of  five 
hundred  dollars  on  Hamilton  Campbell. 

Aggregate  amount  of  bonds  issued,  fourteen  thousand  seven  hun 
dred  and  sixty-one  dollars  and  seventy-five  cents;  aggregate  amount 
of  vouchers  for  commissary-general,  fourteen  thousand  three  hun 
dred  and  thirty-four  dollars  and  ninety-five  cents,  leaving  a  balance 
of  four  hundred  and  sixteen  dollars  and  eighty  cents. 

12  Resolution  of  S.  R.  Thurston :    Oregon  Archives,  Til. 


To  meet  the  above  we  have  balanced  in  George  Abernethy's  books 
to  our  credit,  four  thousand  two  hundred  and  seven  dollars;  Rev. 
William  Roberts'  draft  011  H.  Campbell,  five  hundred  dollars ; 
leaving  a  balance  in  our  favor  of  one  hundred  and  twenty-five 
dollars  and  twenty-seven  cents. 

The  five  hundred  dollar  draft  above  alluded  to  is  a  draft  drawn 
by  Rev.  William  Roberts  on  H.  Campbell,  to  the  order  of  the  Oregon 
loan  commissioners.  W.  H.  Willson,  one  of  the  board,  took  charge 
of  the  draft  and  was  to  present  to  Mr.  Campbell  for  payment.  The 
order  or  draft  was  presented  to  Mr.  Campbell,  but  for  what  cause  I 
am  not  able  to  inform  your  honorable  body,  for  neither  property  nor 
money  came  into  our  hands  as  payment  of  said  draft,  but  I  think 
it  was  delivered  over  to  the  commissary-general's  agents  by  Mr. 

There  were  some  drafts  drawn  on  us  by  the  commissary -general 
as  bonds  for  the  payment  of  debts  which  the  commissary-general 
had  contracted.  These  drafts  we  did  not  accept  for  this  reason, — 
we  did  not  think  the  commissary-general,  or  any  other  officer  of 
this  government  had  any  right  to  purchase  property,  or  negotiate  a 
loan  of  any  kind,  without  our  knowledge  or  consent,  and  call  on  us 
to  pledge  the  faith  of  this  territory  for  its  payment,  as  the  commis 
sioners  alone  were  only  authorized  to  negotiate  a  loan  and  pledge 
the  faith  of  this  territory  for  its  payment.  The  act  creating  the 
present  board  authorizes  them  whenever  it  becomes  necessary  to 
affix  the  cash  value  of  property  to  have  it  appraised  by  men  under 
oath,  consequently  we  could  not  execute  a  bond  for  the  payment  of 
property  purchased  by  the  commissary-general  or  any  other  officer 
as  they  wished.  If  the  bonds  were  placed  in  our  hands  subject  to 
the  draft  or  drafts  of  the  commissary-general,  then  of  course  we 
should  issue  to  the  extent  of  our  limits.  On  the  twenty-eighth  of 
March  last,  or  near  that  time,  the  commissary-general  told  me  that 
when  he  was  at  The  Dalles,  it  became  necessary  for  him  to  take 
wagons  and  oxen,  the  property  of  Phelaster  and  Philemon  Lee,  to 
the  amount  of  two  hundred  and  fifty  dollars.  I  consented  to  give 
bonds  and  did  so,  but  in  a  few  days  I  was  called  upon  by  different 
persons  for  bonds  for  a  very  large  amount;  I  refused  to  execute  bonds 
to  them  until  I  could  see  the  other  two  commissioners,  and  when 
we  met  together  it  was  thought  best  not  to  give  any  more  bonds  for 
any  property,  as  we  knew  nothing  about  it;  so  for  these  reasons  we 
refused  to  give  bonds  for  any  more  property  taken  at  The  Dalles  by 
the  commissary-general. 

There  is  another  matter  I  wish  to  explain  —it  is  this  :  When  I 
commenced  to  collect  funds  I  was  not  able  to  obtain  any  money  ex 
cept  orders  on  stores  in  Oregon  City  ;  in  consequence  of  this  it  was 
impossible  for  the  commissary-general  to  obtain  articles  for  the  use 
of  the  army.  He  told  me  to  get  axes  and  spades,  and  these  articles 
were  very  much  wanted  to  make  roads  for  wagons  to  pass  up  the 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  255 

Columbia  river.  Philip  Foster  had  subscribed  fifty  dollars,  to  be 
paid  on  the  stores,  and  John  B.  Price  twenty-five,  to  be  paid  also  on 
the  stores.  These  gentlemen  told  me  if  I  would  give  them  twenty  - 
five  per  cent  premium  they  would  let  me  have  cash,  and  I  told 
them  I  would  do  so.  Mr.  Foster  gave  me  thirty-seven  dollars  and 
a  half,  and  I  gave  him  a  bond  for  fifty  dollars  ;  Mr.  Price  gave  me 
eighteen  dollars  and  seventy-five  cents,  and  1  gave  him  a  bond  for 
twenty -five  dollars.  This  I  did  for  the  best,  but  should  your  honor 
able  body  think  otherwise,  I  am  ready  to  pay  this  government  out 
of  my  own  funds  the  amount  of  premium  that  I  found  at  that  time 
necessary  to  allow.  I  bring  this  to  your  particular  notice  because 
it  was  noticed  at  the  time  by  one  of  the  presses  of  Oregon  City. 
Whatever  your  decision  on  this  point  may  be,  I  alone  am  responsi 
ble,  as  my  two  associates  know  nothing  of  the  matter. 

The  commissary -general,  or  his  agent,  A.  J.  Hembree,  Esq., 
obtained  a  loan  of  one  hundred  and  ninety-six  dollars  and  a  half,  or 
thereabouts,  from  Thomas  Justin,  for  which  they  agreed  to  get  him 
a  bond  for  two  hundred  and  sixteen  dollars  and  thirty-three  cents. 
I  first  refused  to  give  the  bond  for  that  amount,  but  the  commissary- 
general  being  very  much  in  want  of  cash,  and  upon  consideration, 
sooner  than  the  money  should  be  returned,  I  executed  the  bond  to 
Thomas  Justin  for  two  hundred  and  sixteen  dollars  and  thirty-five 
cents.  All  bonds  issued  by  us  bear  interest  at  the  rate  of  ten  per 
cent  per  annum,  and  all  signed  by  the  governor  and  countersigned 
by  the  secretary  of  this  territory.  All  the  books  and  papers  belong 
ing  are  hereby  transmitted  for  your  examination. 

Owing  to  the  resignation  of  General  A.  L.  Lovejoy  as  one  of  the 
commissioners,  and  the  absence  of  Dr.  W.  H.  Willson,  this  docu 
ment  will  appear  with  but  one  signature. 

(Signed).  HUGH  BURNS, 

Oregon  City,  February  8,  1849. 

The  following  report  was  furnished  by  the  adjutant- 
general  : — 

Io  the  Honorable  House  of  Representatives : 

GENTLEMEN  :  In  answer  to  the  resolution  calling  upon  this  de 
partment  for  documents,  papers,  &c.,  &c.,  for  information,  I  beg 
leave  herewith  to  transmit  the  following  documents,  papers,  &c.,  &c. : 

The  record  of  the  enlistment  and  discharge  of  the  first  regiment 
of  Oregon  riflemen  ( marked  A )  shows  the  names  of  all  officers,  field 
and  staff,  together  with  a  complete  roll,  term  of  service,  and  amount 
of  pay  belonging  to  each  non-commissioned  officer  and  private. 

The  staff,  field,  and  commissioned  officers,  the  respective  amounts 
due  them  have  not  been  carried  out.  There  has  been  some  differ 
ence  of  opinion  relative  to  the  amounts  due  said  officers.  It  has 


been  contended  by  some  that  they  were  entitled  to  the  same  pay  as 
officers  of  the  same  grade  in  the  United  States  army.  But  this 
department  has  declined  making  up  their  pay  at  all,  until  such 
time  as  this  department  shall  have  further  instructions  from  your 
honorable  body. 

The  record,  roll,  &c.,  &c.,  include  all  that  have  been  engaged  in 
the  war,  except  an  extra  official  report  by  H.  A.  G.  Lee  of  about 
fifty  men,  rank  and  file  (  marked  B ),  being  the  first  company  that 
went  to  The  Dalles,  and  a  report  of  Felix  Scott,  captain,  who  volun 
teered  their  services,  and  found  themselves,  to  protect  the  southern 
frontier  (marked  C),  together  with  all  orders  to  that  officer  issued 
from  this  department;  and  one  other  report  which  came  to  this 
C }  office  this  day  from  Captain  Levi  Scott,  who  commanded  the  Cali 
fornia  expedition,  &c.  (marked  D).  There  was  never  any  order 
issued  to  that  officer  from  this  department. 

Agreeably  to  the  report  of  Colonel  Lee,  there  were  some  few  men 
who  left  the  service  without  leave,  which  report  is  herewith  trans 
mitted  for  your  inspection  ( marked  E). 

There  has  been  no  proclamation  issued  since  the  twenty-eighth  of 
December,  1848,  and  why  not  recorded  because  none  to  record  ;  but 
I  herewith  transmit  some  proclamations  and  military  orders  that 
issued  on  and  since  the  twenty-fifth  of  December,  1847,  under  the 
mark  of  F,  all  of  which  have  been  recorded  in  my'  office.  Forms 
have  been  issued  to  all  officers  requiring  the  same. 

Returns  have  been  generally  received  from  the  respective  officers 
required  to  make  returns,  and  the  same  have  been  duly  recorded  in 
my  office  at  Oregon  City;  the  same  are  embodied  under  the  mark  A. 
There  has  been  no  report  to  this  department  from  any  person  of  the 
reception  of  military  stores,  or  funds  of  any  kind,  other  than  those 
referred  to  your  honorable  body  by  his  excellency,  Governor  Aber- 
nethy.  Nor  has  the  commissary  or  quartermaster-generals  reported 
to  this  department  the  manner  in  which  they  have  expended  the 
funds,  if  any  they  have  received,  or  the  military  stores  other  than 
as  above.  \ 

The  governor  has  [  been  ]  always  informed  and  thoroughly  ad 
vised  of  the  doings  and  acts  of  the  army  at  all  times,  up  to  the 
time  of  disbanding  the  army,  and  since  that  time  when  any  new 
matter  occasioned  anything  new. 

And,  in  conclusion,  allow  the  undersigned  to  observe  that  the 
officers  were  generally  disposed  to  do  their  duty,  but  owing. to  the 
want  of  books  and  information  relative  to  their  respective  duties, 
there  were  many  informalities,  which,  of  course,  has  rendered  it 
very  difficult  for  this  department  to  arrive  to  an  exactity  in  relation 
to  the  number  of  men,  rank  and  file.  There  was  continually  trans 
fers  going  on  from  one  company  to  another,  though  contrary  to  in 
structions.  Likewise  there  was,  among  the  commissioned  officers, 
resignations  going  on  and  new  elections  taking  place  to  fill  the  re- 

THE   CA  YU8E  WAR.  257 

spective  vacancies  occasioned  thereby,  which  by  personal  inter 
views  with  some  of  the  officers  would  seem  never  reached  this  office; 
and  most  likely  there  were  some  commissioned  officers  who  acted  in 
their  respective  capacities,  who  have  not  been  reported,  and  the  same 
may  be  the  case  with  some  of  the  privates. 

In  the  case  of  H.  A.  G.  Lee's  extra  official  report  under  the  mark 
of  B,  the  said  men  have  not  been  reported  to  this  office  at  all,  and 
this  is  the  reason  they  are  not  enrolled  among  the  other  companies 
under  the  letter  A.  These  men  responded  to  their  country's  call, 
and  were  on  the  line  of  march  without  an  hour's  warning  to  avenge 
their  country's  wrongs  —  and  shall  they  have  no  pay? 

And  likewise,  in  the  case  of  Captain  Levi  Scott,  who  commanded 
the  California  expedition,  whose  report  came  into  my  office  this  day. 
That  officer,  and  those  connected  with  him,  underwent  many  hard 
ships  and  fatigues  in  the  service  of  their  country.  It  was  deemed 
by  the  governor,  and  the  community  generally,  that  an  express  to 
California  would,  in  a  measure,  relieve  this  government  from  its 
then  critical  situation,  which  was  ardently  desired  by  all.  Captain 
Levi  Scott  was  commissioned  the  seventh  of  March,  1848,  with 
grade  as  captain  ;  and  from  the  fifth  of  February,  1848,  likewise, 
Captain  Felix  Scott,  L.  N.  English,  first  lieutenant,  and  J.  H. 
Lewis,  second  lieutenant.  These  officers  were  commissioned  the 
tenth  of  May,  1848,  with  the  grade  respectively,  and  rank  from 
the  first  of  May,  1848.  How  long,  and  what  time,  these  said  officers 
and  privates  were  in  service,  has  never  been  reported  to  this  depart 
ment.  J.  M.  Garrison  was  commissioned  as  captain  the  seventh  of 
March,  1848,  and  took  command  of  a  small  reinforcement  and  pro 
ceeded  to  The  Dalles,  where  said  Garrison  was  directed  to  remain, 
subject  to  the  orders  of  the  commandant  in  the  field.  How  long 
the  said  Garrison  served  in  that  capacity  is  unknown  to  this  depart 

I  herewith  transmit  further  for  your  consideration  and  informa 
tion  all  military  orders  issued  by  the  governor  that  did  not  pass 
through  this  department,  under  the  letter  H.  Every  information 
and  explanation  that  is  in  the  power  of  this  department  will  be 
cheerfully  given,  while  I  have  the  honor  to  remain,  gentlemen, 
Your  very  humble  and  obedient  servant, 

Adj  utant-General. 

Accompanying  this  report  was  the  following: — 


OREGON  CITY,  December  1,  1848. 
To  His  Excellency,  George  Abernethy,  Governor  of  Oregon  : 

SIR  :  Herewith  I  beg  to  transmit  a  report  of  the  amount  due  the 
several  companies  composing  the  first  regiment  of  Oregon  riflemen 



for  their  services  in  the  war  between  the  territory  of  Oregon  and  the 
Cayuse  Indians,  showing  an  aggregate  of  ($109,311  50)  one  hundred 
and  nine  thousand  three  hundred  and  eleven  dollars  and  fifty  cents. 
This  amount  does  not  include  the  services  of  any  of  the  commis 
sioned  officers,  as  there  has  been  no  provision  made  for  their  pay. 
Company  K  was  formed  out  of  the  companies  of  Captains  English 
and  Garrison  on  the  seventeenth  of  April,  1848,  on  which  day  the 
officers  were  elected.  Company  I  was  formed  by  Colonel  James 
Waters  at  Fort  Waters  011  the  seventh  day  of  June,  1848,  and  re 
mained  in  service  until  the  twenty-ninth  of  September,  1848. 

I  beg  leave  also  to  hand  you  herewith  two  reports  from  the  com 
missary  and  quartermaster-generals  department,  viz.,  A,  showing 
the  amount  of  liabilities  created  by  those  departments;  and  B,  show 
ing  the  amount  of  disbursements  by  those  departments. 

I  have  the  honor  to  remain,  very  respectfully,  your  obedient  ser 


Assistant  Adjutant-General. 

To  A.  E.  Wilson,  Acting  Adjutant-General: 

A. — Report  of  the  commissary  and  quartermaster-generals,  show 
ing  the  amount  of  liabilities  created  by  the  commissary,  quarter 
master,  and  ordnance  departments  in  the  war  between  the  territory 
of  Oregon  and  the  Cayuse  Indians,  classed  as  under  :  Aggregate  of 
stationery,  one  hundred  and  forty-four  dollars  and  eighty-eight  and 
one-half  cents;  aggregate  of  camp  equipage,  seven  hundred  and 
ninety-nine  dollars  and  fifty -eight  cents;  aggregate  of  horses,  etc., 
one  thousand  nine  hundred  and  twenty -seven  dollars;  aggregate  of 
saddlery,  seven  hundred  and  thirty-two  dollars  and  sixty-three 
cents;  aggregate  of  arms  and  repairs,  one  thousand  three  hundred 
and  nineteen  dollars  and  sixty  cents;  aggregate  of  ammunition, 
eight  hundred  and  twenty-seven  dollars  and  twenty-one  and  one- 
half  cents;  transportation,  creating  Fort  Gilliam  included,  five 
thousand  two  hundred  and  twenty  dollars  and  forty-one  and  one- 
half  cents;  aggregate  of  subsistence,  fourteen  thousand  four  hun 
dred  and  twelve  dollars  and  seventy-three  and  one-half  cents; 
aggregate  of  ferryage,  six  hundred  and  eighty-three  dollars  and 
ninety-two  cents;  aggregate  of  medical  department,  three  hundred 
and  ninety-six  dollars  and  seven  cents;  aggregate  of  commissary's 
assistants,  agents,  expenses,  office  rent,  forage  for  volunteers  horses, 
&c.,  one  thousand  one  hundred  and  thirty-nine  dollars  and  seven 
and  one-half  cents;  aggregate  of  premium  on  cash  payments,  sev 
enty-four  dollars  and  twenty-seven  cents;  aggregate  of  Indian 
agency,  two  hundred  and  fifty-four  dollars  and  eighteen  and  one- 
half  cents;  aggregate  of  California  expedition,  five  hundred  and 
fifty-one  dollars  and  seventy  cents;  aggregate  of  interest  account, 
twenty -three  dollars  and  sixty-nine  cents;  aggregate  of  smithing 

THE   GAYUSE  WAR.  259 

and  saddle  making,  seven  hundred  and  thirty-two  dollars  and 
sixty-three  cents.  Total  liabilities  adjusted,  thirty-three  thousand 
three  hundred  dollars  and  four  and  one-half  cents. 

Unadjusted  liabilities,  when  settled,  to  be  added  to  their  respective 
accounts  :  Merchandise  (from  caches),  George  Abernethy's  account, 
Hudson's  Bay  Company's  account  ( a  small  balance ).  Blacksmiths 
—  Jason  Wheeler,  Joseph  W.  Downer,  W.  T.  Nanvoorst,  David 

Weston,  and  J.  M.  Johns,  —  days  at dollars.    Saddlers  —  S.  S. 

Duffield,  J.  R.  Payne,  and  Wm.  Martin,  —  days  at  -  -  dollars. 
Commissary  department  —  A.  E.  Wait,  J.  D^Crawford,  H.  A. 
Smith,  S.  H.  Goodhue,  J.  Keller,  — .  Johnson,  W.  H.  Rees,  and  J. 
Force,  —  days  at  -  -  dollars.  Quartermaster's  department  —  B. 
Jennings,  C.  W.  Cooke,  John  Fleming,  James  Taylor,  and  A.  A. 

Robinson,  —  days  at dollars.     Ordnance  —  A.  C.  R.  Shaw,  D. 

H.  Lownsdale,  and  S.  J.  Gardner,  —  days  at dollars.  Wagon- 
master  —  Henry  Wordeh,  —  days  at dollars.  Total, dollars. 

Acting  Commissary-General. 

B. — Report  of  the  commissary  and  quartermaster-generals,  show 
ing  the  amount  of  disbursements  in  the  commissary,  quartermaster, 
and  ordnance  departments  in  the  war  between  the  territory  of  Ore 
gon  and  the  Cayuse  Indians,  as  per  vouchers  on  file  in  this  office  : 
Amount  paid  for  stationery,  one  dollar  and  twelve  and  one-half  cents; 
ammunition,  fifteen  dollars  and  nine-five  cents;  camp  equipage, — 

dollars;  arms  and  repairs, dollars;  transportation,  four  hundred 

and  thirty-seven  dollars  and  seventy-seven  cents;  horse  account, 
fifteen  thousand  four  hundred  and  forty-four  dollars ;  merchan 
dise,  four  thousand  two  hundred  and  fifty -six  dollars  and  eight 
cents;  saddlery,  -  -  dollars;  subsistence,  two  thousand  nine  hun 
dred  and  forty-seven  dollars  and  ninety-one  and  one -half  cents;  med 
ical  department,  -  -  dollars;  California  expedition,  five  hundred 
and  fifty-one  dollars  and  seventy  cents. 

Total  amount  of  cash  received  from  loan  commissioners,  one 
thousand  five  hundred  and  twenty-five  dollars  and  eighty-nine 
cents;  deduct  discount  on  sovereigns,  five  dollars  and  fifty -six  cents. 
Total,  one  thousand  five  hundred  and  twenty  dollars  and  thirty- 
three  cents.  Amount  received  from  other  sources  for  which  com 
missary's  duebills  are  issued,  one  thousand  three  hundred  and  sixty- 
four  dollars  and  sixty-nine  cents;  total  amount  of  cash  received,  two 
thousand  eight  hundred  and  eighty-five  dollars  and  two  cents;  total 
amount  of  cash  paid  out  per  vouchers,14  one  thousand  eight  hundred 
and  eleven  dollars  and  fifteen  and  one-half  cents;  charged  J.  Palmer's 
private  account,  seventy-three  dollars  and  eighty-six  and  one-half 

14  This  amount,  copied  from  the  Oregon  archives,  is  apparently  an  error.  It  should 
be  two  thousand  eight  hundred  and  eleven  dollars  and  fifteen  and  one-half  cents. 


cents.  This  department  has  drawn  orders  on  the  loan  commission 
ers  from  number  one  to  number  two  hundred  and  seven  inclusive; 
cash  included,  sixteen  thousand  one  hundred  and  twenty-seven  dol 
lars  and  thirty-three  and  one-half  cents;  commissary  due  bills  ( out 
standing)  about  five  thousand  three  hundred  and  one  dollars.  The 
amount  of  subsistence  when  the  returns  are  fully  made  will  not  be 
far  from  eleven  thousand  four  hundred  sixty-four  dollars.  There  is 
remaining  in  the  hands  of  the  commissary-general  the  following : 
At  Fort  Wascopam 15  about  sixty  head  of  Spanish  cattle;  at  Forts 
Wascopam  and  Waters  about  twenty -five  horses;  in  the  valley  about 
forty  head  of  cattle,  eight  or  ten  horses,  six  kegs  powder,  four  large 
kegs  powder,  one  box  caps,  four  rifles,  twenty-six  muskets,  one 
shotgun,  lead,  balls,  shot,  one  tent,  five  sickles,  ten  hoes,  four  hand 
saws,  one  broadaxe,  one  adz,  one  fine  saw,  one  crosscut  saw,  one 
spade,  sixteen  camp  kettles,  two  frying  pans,  eight  spoons,  nine  tin 
pans,  ten  plates,  and  three  coffee  pots. 

The  several  accounts  of  camp  equipage,  arms,  and  repairs,  and 
saddling,  owing  to  reports  from  proper  officers  not  being  full  on 
those  accounts,  and  the  transactions  of  the  disbursing  officers  are 
yet  unsettled,  renders  it  impossible  to  state  the  precise  amount  of 
articles  lost  and  worn  out  in  the  service,  consequently  prevents  at 
present  being  stated  the  amount  paid  by  each.  There  are  vouchers 
in  this  office  covering  the  total  amount  of  cash  when  added  to  the 
amount  in  hand. 

I  have  the  honor  to  be,  sir,  your  obedient  servant, 

Per  LOT  WHITCOMB,  A.  C.  G. 

On  the  sixteenth  of  February,  1849,  Governor  Aber- 
nethy  approved  an  act  passed  by  the  provisional  legisla 
ture,  entitled  "An  act  to  provide  for  the  final  settlement 
of  the  claims  against  the  Oregon  government  for  and  on 
account  of  the  Cayuse  war."  The  act  appointed  a  board 
of  commissioners,  consisting  of  Thomas  Magruder,  Samuel 
Burch,  and  Wesley  Shannon,  whose  duty  it  was  to  exam 
ine  and  adjust  these  claims;  said  commissioners  to  receive 
five  dollars  a  day  ufor  every  day  necessarily  so  employed," 
and  to  meet  on  the  first  Monday  in  every  month,  remaining 
in  session  "  as  long  as  there  was  any  business  before  them ;" 
the  last  meeting  to  be  held  on  the  first  Monday  in  the  fol 
lowing  November.16 

w  Fort  Lee  at  The  Dalles, 
is  Oregon  Archives,  MS.  1050. 

THE   CAYUSE  WAR.  261 

Before  November  the  new  government  had  come  in  and 
the  territorial  legislature  in  August,  1849,  passed  another 
act  "to  provide  for  settling  Cayuse  war  claim,"  and  for  an 
election  by  both  houses  of  "a  commissioner"17  to  investi 
gate  all  claims  growing  out  of  or  pertaining  to  the  Cayuse 
war;  said  commissioner  to  be  allowed  five  dollars  a  day 
for  each  day  he  should  be  actually  engaged  in  the  dis 
charge  of  his  duties,  to  be  paid  out  of  the  territorial  treas 
ury,  and  to  hold  office  for  one  year.  A.  E.  Wait  was  the 
commissioner  elected.  It  was  not  expected  that  the  busi 
ness  of  adj using  these  claims  should  be  accomplished  in 
one  year,  nor  was  it. 

A  committee  of  the  congress  of  the  United  States.,  moved 
by  the  eloquence  of  Samuel  R.  Thurston,  the  first  territo 
rial  delegate,  agreed  to  appropriate  one  hundred  thousand 
dollars  wherewith  to  pay  the  expenses  of  the  Cayuse  war, 
Thurston  telling  his  constituents  that  it  was  "that  or  noth 
ing,"  and  indeed,  considering  the  parsimony  which  had 
hitherto  characterized  the  action  of  congress  towards  the 
Oregon  people,  this  was  a  munificent  sum ;  but  the  inves 
tigations  of  Commissioner  Wait  convinced  the  legislature 
which  met  in  December,  1850,  that  an  additional  fifty 
thousand  would  be  required  to  extinguish  the  debt,  as 
the  following  extract  from  a  memorial  from  this  legisla 
ture  to  congress  gives  evidence : — 

It  appears  that  he  (the  commissioner)  has  investigated,  allowed, 
and  certified  claims  against  the  late  provisional  government  of  Ore 
gon,  after  deducting  all  payments  and  offsets,  the  sum  of  seventy- 
six  thousand  eight  hundred  and  thirty  dollars  and  twenty-four 
cents.  By  the  same  it  appears  that  his  predecessor  so  audited  the 
sum  of  ten  thousand  four  hundred  dollars  and  twenty-nine  cents, 
making  the  total  amount  audited  and  certified  by  the  present  com 
missioner  and  his  predecessor,  eighty-seven  thousand  two  hundred 
and  thirty  dollars  and  fifty-three  cents.  In  his  report  the  commis 
sioner  estimates  the  probable  expense  of  the  war  at  one  hundred 
and  fifty  thousand  dollars.  The  debts  due  the  several  in 

dividuals,  as  ascertained  and  set  forth  in  the  commissioner's  report, 
are  for  services  rendered  or  material  furnished  by  the  citizens  of  this 

17  Oregon  Archives,  MS.  1052. 

262        INDIAN-  WAES  OF  OREGON. 

territory,  many  of  whom,  by  so  doing,  were  left  in  a  suffering  con 
dition.  Men  left  families  depending  on  their  daily  labor  for  sub 
sistence,  farmers  turned  their  horses  loose  from  the  plough  in  the 
furrow  and  furnished  them  to  the  army  for  transportation.  They 
have  waited  nearly  three  years,  and  received  as  yet  no  remunera 
tion.  Your  memorialists  respectfully  but  firmly  conceive  that  the 
expenses  of  the  war  should  be  borne  by  the  nation  at  large  ;  that  it 
was  a  war  fought  in  self-defense  for  the  United  States  by  the  people 
of  this  territory.  The  time  has  come  when  the  men  who  spent 
their  time,  money,  and  property  in  the  prosecution  of  that  war 
should  be  remunerated.  The  territory  is  too  weak  to  do  it  and  meet 
the  demands  made  upon  her  resources  by  her  growing  interests.  To 
conclude,  your  memorialists  respectfully  but  firmly  pray  your  hon 
orable  body,  at  your  present  session,  to  appropriate  the  sum  esti 
mated  by  the  commissioners  on  Cayuse  war  claims,  according  to 
the  annexed  report,  to  be  expended,  ( under  the  direction  of  the  leg 
islature  of  this  territory,  or  by  such  officer  as  congress  may  direct ) , 
in  the  payment  of  the  expenses  incurred  by  the  late  provisional 
government  of  Oregon  in  the  Cayuse  war.18 

/  The  first  bill  actually  passed  for  the  payment  of  the 
Cayuse  war  debt  was  for  seventy-three  thousand  dollars, 
and  in  1853-4  Hon.  Joseph  Lane  concluded  the  business 
by  securing  an  appropriation  of  seventy-five  thousand 
dollars  to  pay  the  remaining  expenses.  Lane  also  secured 
the  passage  of  a  bill  giving  bounties  to  volunteers  in  any 
wars  in  which  they  had  been  regularly  enrolled  since  1790, 
which  was  intended  to  cover  the  Oregon  Indian  wars. 
Some  private  claims  have  been  paid  from  time  to  time. 
There  remained  until  the  present  decade  only  a  bill  for  the 
relief  of  Captain  Lawrence  Hall's  company,  which  was  in 
the  hands  of  Senator  Mitchell,  Captain  William  E.  Birk- 
himer,  United  States  army,  having  been  designated  to 
examine  the  accounts,  who  found  in  favor  of  their  payment. 
The  Cayuse  war  marked,  and  closed  the  existence  of  the 
provisional  government  of  Oregon.  As  an  example  of  the 
facility  with  which  Americans  organize  and  establish  gov 
ernments  or  armies,  it  is  one  of  the  most  interesting  on 
record,  and  as  an  illustration  in  the  main  of  the  good 
points  in  American  character  it  is  noticeable.  "When  I 

"  Oregon  Archives,  MS.  1044. 

!•';  ERSI1* 

THE   CATUSE  WAR.  268-'- 

was  about  to  start  for  Fort  Colville  with  my  company  to 
escort  the  missionary  families,"  says  Major  Magone,  "I 
addressed  my  men,  telling  them  that  they  were  about  to 
perform  the  duty  of  gentlemen  toward  refined  Christian 
women,  and  I  trusted  that  those  ladies  would  be  shocked  by 
no  word  of  profanity,  or  act  of  rudeness  while  under  the 
company's  care;  and  I  never  had  occasion  to  reprove  a 
man  of  them."  Brave  in  the  presence  of  the  enemy,  they 
could  be  gentle  where  gentleness  was  becoming. 





IT  HAS  been  mentioned  in  the  histor}^  of  the  Cayuse  war 
that  Lane,  governor  and  superintendent  of  Indian  affairs, 
was  absent  in  southern  Oregon  during  the  trial  of  the  In 
dian  prisoners  at  Oregon  City.  The  occasion  of  this  ab 
sence  was  the  conduct  of  the  Rogue-river  Indians  towards 
white  men  traveling  to  and  from  the  gold  fields  of  north 
ern  California.  They  had  attacked  a  party  in  camp  at 
Rock  Point,  and  robbed  them  of  their  season's  gains,  as 
well  as  of  all  their  other  property,  the  men  only  escaping 
by  fleeing  to  the  woods. 

Other  complaints,  and  the  well-known  rascalities  of  these 
Indians,  led  the  superintendent  to  visit  them,  to  change,  if 
possible,  this  condition  of  travel  on  the  California  road. 
His  party  consisted  of  fifteen  white  men,  and  as  many 
Klickitat  Indians  under  their  chief,  Quatley.  They  over 
took  and  escorted  some  cattle  drivers  as  far  as  the  south 
bank  of  Rogue  river,  where  Lane  encamped,  sending  word 



to  the  Indians  that  he  had  come  to  make  a  treaty  of  peace 
and  friendship,  and  desiring  them  to  meet  him  unarmed. 
This  proposition  was  accepted,  and  after  a  little  delay  two 
of  the  principal  chiefs,  with  seventy-five  warriors,  arrived 
at  camp. 

The  reception  being  over,  the  visitors  were  arranged  in 
a  circle,  with  Lane  and  the  chiefs  in  the  center.  But  be 
fore  the  council  had  begun,  another  party  as  large  as  the 
first  appeared,  advancing  upon  the  camp  armed  with  bows 
and  arrows.  They  were  invited  to  lay  down  their  arms 
and  be  seated ;  and  at  the  same  time  Lane,  who  had  now 
to  depend  upon  his  keenness  of  sight  and  mind  for  the 
safety  of  his  party,  ordered  Quatley,  with  two  or  three 
Klickitats  inside  the  circle,  to  stand  beside  the  head  chief 
of  the  Rogue-rivers. 

Keeping  a  sharp  lookout,  and  communicating  with  Quat 
ley  only  by  flashes  of  the  eye,  Lane  coolly  proceeded  to  open 
the  council,  explaining  that  the  object  of  his  conference 
with  them  was  to  put  a  stop  to  their  habitual  robberies  and 
murders  of  white  men,  to  make  travel  through  their  coun 
try  safe,  and  to  make  a  treaty  of  friendship.  If  this  could 
be  affected,  both  white  people  and  red  would  live  in  peace, 
and  the  lands  settled  upon  by  his  race  would  be  paid  for 
by  the  government,  whose  agent  would  be  sent  to  reside 
amongst  them,  and  look  after  their  interests. 

The  answer  to  Lane's  speech,  which  was  interpreted  by 
Quatley,  was  a  brief  address  in  stentorian  tones  by  the 
head  chief  to  his  people,  who  sprang  to  their  feet,  raising 
the  war  cry,  and  displaying  the  few  guns  they  had  among 
them,  besides  their  bows  and  arrows.  Lane  had  his  coun 
ter  movement  ready,  Quatley  being  told  to  seize  the  chief 
and  hold  him  with  a  knife  at  his  throat.  He  then,  with 
his  revolver  in  hand,  quickly  advanced  to  the  line  of 
armed  Indians,  knocking  up  their  guns,  and  ordering 
them  to  lay  down  their  arms.  The  chief  finding  himself  a 
prisoner  within  the  embrace  of  three  stout  Klickitats,  and 
a  gory  death  awaiting  him,  seconded  Lane's  command  to 


ground  their  arms.  After  a  few  minutes'  deliberation  Lane 
ordered  them  to  retire  and  return  again  in  two  days  to  a 
peace  council,  during  which  time  he  should  hold  their 
chief  as  a  hostage;  and  sullenly  they  departed  with  a  new 
view  of  the  character  of  the  white  race,  whom  they  were 
accustomed  to  see  in  the  light  of  fleeing  victims  of  their 
cupidity  and  barbarity. 

Lane's  natural  gallantry,  love  of  adventure,  and  his  fine 
courage  made  him  particularly  well  adapted  to  deal  with 
Indians.  The  morning  following  the  captivity  of  the 
Rogue-river  chief,  his  wife  appeared  on  the  bank  of  the 
river  opposite  the  camp,  and  entreated  to  be  allowed  to 
join  her  lord.  This  was  permitted,  and  Lane  used  the 
opportunity  to  impress  upon  the  savage  mind  some  of  the 
higher  sentiments  of  chivalry.  In  this  he  was  so  successful 
that  before  the  two  days  were  spent  the  proud  chief  re 
quested  a  further  conversation.  Having  learned  from  the 
interpreter  the  name  of  his  hero,  he  addressed  him,  "Mika 
name  Jo  Lane?"  "Nawitka,"  said  the  one-time  general. 
"  Give  your  name  to  me,"  said  the  chief,  "  for  I  have  seen 
no  man  like  you."  To  this  proposal  Lane  replied  that  he 
would  give  him  half  his  name  —  Jo — by  which  monosyl 
labic  appellation  the  Rogue-river  chief  was  known  from 
that  day  forward. 

The  softening  process  having  gone  on  for  days,  Lane 
presented  to  the  mind  of  chief  Jo  the  advantages  of  a 
treaty  with  the  United  States  with  such  success  that  his 
propositions  were  accepted,  even  to  the  restoration  of  prop 
erty  taken  from  the  Oregonians  passing  through  their 
country,  minus  the  gold  dust,  which  had  been  ignorantly 
poured  into  the  river,  and  so  become  lost  irrecoverably. 
By  Jo's  advice  his  people  all  consented  to  the  terms  of 
the  treaty  as  drawn  up  by  Lane,  which  they  kept  with 
tolerable  honesty  for  that  year. 

In  order  to  prevent,  as  far  as  he  could,  a  violation  of  the 
Indians'  rights  under  the  treaty,  papers  were  given  to  each 
member  of  the  tribe  present  containing  a  written  warn- 


ing,  signed  by  his  name,  so  that  "  Jo  Lane"  became  a  tal- 
esmanic  word  throughout  the  Rogue  river  and  Shasta 
valleys.  s 

Lane  having  learned  that  he  was  to  be  superseded  by  a 
whig  governor,  did  not  return  to  Oregon  City,  but  pro 
ceeded  south  to  the  Shasta  mines  to  dig  gold,  Chief  Jo 
presenting  him,  on  parting,  with  a  mark  of  his  esteem,  in 
the  shape  of  a  Modoc  boy  for  a  slave. 

In  1850  congress  passed  an  act  extinguishing  Indian 
titles  west  of  the  Cascade  mountains,  and  the  president 
immediately  appointed  as  superintendent  of  Indian  affairs, 
Anson  Dart,  who  arrived  in  Oregon  in  October,  together 
with  P.  C.  Dart,  his  secretary.  The  sub-agents  appointed 
were  A.  G.  Henry,  who  failed  to  arrive  at  all;  Elias  Wam- 
pole,  who  did  arrive;  and  H.  H.  Spalding,  already  on  the 
ground.  Twenty  thousand  dollars  was  appropriated  and 
advanced  to  the  superintendent  with  which  he  was  to 
erect  dwellings  for  himself  and  agents,  and  make  presents 
to  the  Indians. 

A  commission  was  also  created,  consisting  of  the  newly 
appointed  governor,  John  P.  Gaines,  Alonzo  A.  Skinner, 
and  Beverly  S.  Allen,  to  make  treaties  with  the  Indians 
west  of  the  Cascades.  According  to  their  instructions,  the 
object  of  the  government  was  to  remove  the  complaint  of 
the  settlers  that  they  could  not  acquire  perfect  titles  to 
their  lands  before  the  Indian  title  was  extinguished.  For 
this  cause  they  were  to  treat  with  the  small  tribes  in  the 
Wallamet  valley  first  and  separately.  They  were  to  decide 
what  amount  of  money  should  be  paid  for  the  lands,  and 
grant  annuities  not  to  exceed  five  per  cent  of  the  whole 
amount.  They  were  advised  not  to  pay  the  annuities  in 
money,  but  to  substitute  such  articles  of  use,  of  agricul 
ture,  mechanics,  and  education  as  should  to  them  seem 
best.  If  any  surplus  remained,  goods  might  be  purchased 
with  that,  to  be  delivered  to  the  Indians.  For  this  object 
twenty  thousand  dollars  were  appropriated,  fifteen  thou- 


sand  of  which  was  placed  in  the  sub-treasury  at  San 
Francisco,  subject  to  the  order  of  Governor  Gaines,  the 
remainder  being  invested  in  goods,  shipped  around  Cape 

The  pay  allowed  the  commissioners  was  eight  dollars 
per  diem;  the  pay  of  their  secretary  five.  They  were 
allowed  the  services  of  interpreters  and  servants,  as  many 
as  desired,  at  such  rates  as  they  pleased,  with  their  travel 
ing  expenses,  and  a  mileage  of  ten  cents.  The  commis 
sioners  did  not  get  to  work  before  April,  1851,  and  in  a  few 
weeks  six  treaties  had  been  made  with  the  fragments  of 
tribes  in  the  Wallamet  valley,  and  the  twenty  thousand 
dollars  expended,  less  about  three  hundred,  which  re 
mained,  when  information  was  received  that  congress  had 
abolished  Indian  commissions,  and  placed  the  business  of 
treaty  making  in  the  hands  of  the  superintendent  alone. 

Dart  was  now  without  money,  and  almost  without  help 
from  sub-agents.  Spalding,  who  had  been  assigned  to  the 
Umpquas,  visited  them  but  seldom,  and  his  removal  was 
asked  for,  E.  A.  Sterling  being  appointed  in  his  place,  but 
stationed  at  the  mouth  of  the  Columbia.  In  June  the  su 
perintendent  paid  a  visit  to  the  tribes  east  of  the  Cascades, 
finding  them  quiet,  and  promising  them  pay  in  the  future 
for  their  lands.  He  found  the  Cayuses  reduced  by  their 
misfortunes  to  a  mere  handful,  the  warriors  among  them 
numbering  only  thirty-six  men.  Here,  on  the  Urnatilla, 
he  selected  a  site  for  an  agency ;  and  proceeded  to  visit  the 
former  mission  stations  of  Waiilatpu  and  Lapwai  to  ascer 
tain  the  losses  of  the  Presbyterians  through  the  Cay  use 
war.  The  cost  of  this  expedition  for  employes  was  fifty 
dollars  a  day,  in  addition  to  transportation,  which  was 
four  hundred  dollars  to  The  Dalles  only,  the  superinten 
dent's  salary,  and  other  expenses.  Transportation  from 
The  Dalles  to  Umatilla  cost  fifteen  hundred  dollars,  be 
sides  subsistence.  A  feast  to  the  Cayuses  cost  eighty  dol 
lars,  and  so  on.  The  agency  building  erected  on  the 
Umatilla  cost  enormously,  and  was  of  little  use,  Wampole, 


who  did  not  arrive  in  Oregon  until  July,  being  removed 
in  less  than  three  months  for  trading  with  the  Indians. 
A  number  of  sub-agents  were  appointed  for  different  parts 
of  the  territory,  who  either  did  not  accept,  or  were  ineffi 
cient.  The  one  who  really  understood  Indians,  and  was 
of  use  in  going  among  the  wild  tribes,  was  J.  L.  Parrish  of 
the  dismembered  Methodist  mission. 

The  circumstances  in  which  Dart  found  himself  as  su 
perintendent  of  Indian  affairs  for  the  whole  territory  of 
Oregon,  both  north  and  south  of  the  Columbia  river,  and 
east  and  west  of  the  Cascade  range,  were  anything  but 
condusive  to  peace  of  mind  or  personal  comfort,  and  it 
would  appear  that  he  accomplished  as  much  as  under  the 
same  conditions  any  man  could  have  been  expected  to  do. 
In  his  report  he  gave  it  as  his  opinion  that  with  the  ex 
ception  of  the  Snake  and  Rogue-river  tribes,  the  Indians 
of  Oregon  were  remarkably  well  disposed;  but  that  to 
keep  these  savages  in  subjection  troops  should  be  stationed 
at  certain  points,  and  particular^  in  the  Snake-river  coun 
try,  through  which  the  immigration  must  pass  annually. 

What  it  was  that  about  1850  developed  the  war  spirit  in 
these  Indians,  formerly  not  more  ill-behaved  than  all  sav 
ages,  was  a  subject  of  conjecture.  Doubtless  the  passage 
through  their  country  of  large  bodies  of  people  unarmed, 
and  having  with  them  much  property,  was  a  temptation 
to  them  to  steal,  and  robbery  sometimes  provoked  punish-, 
ment.  Blood  once  shed  was  the  seed  of  a  terrible  harvest, 
as  all  Indian  history  proves. 

Many  persons  believed  they  could  see,  in  the  sudden 
disaffection  of  the  (Snakes,  the  hand  of  the  Latter-Day 
Saints,  and  certainly  the  evidence,  though  circumstantial, 
was  strong  against  them.  Others  reasoned  that  the  law 
forbidding  the  sale  of  ammunition  to  Indians  in  Oregon, 
which  law  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  was  compelled  to 
respect,  had  destroyed  that'  company's  influence  with  the 
Indians,  leaving  them  free  to  follow  their  own  savage 
impulses.  It  might  have  been  surmised  that  the  Cayuse 


murderers,  during  their  wanderings,  had  infected  the 
Snakes  with  a  spirit  of  hostility  to  Americans. 

A  slight  coloring  seemed  to  be  given  to  this  theory  by 
the  behavior  of  the  Snakes  towards  the  Nez  Perces,  who 
had  refused  to  join  the  Cayuses  in  a  war  against  the 
Americans,  they  having  been  hostile  to  the  Nez  Perces 
ever  since  that  period.  Dart  found  the  Nez  Perces  in  1851 
preparing  to  go  to  war  against  the  Snakes,  but  persuaded 
them  to  wait  another  year  for  the  United  States  to  send 
troops  into  the  country,  when,  if  the  troops  had  not  arrived, 
he  promised  them  they  might  fight. 

In  the  light  of  what  happened  afterwards,  it  would  have 
been  better  to  have  allowed  the  Nez  Perces  to  have  fought 
and  subdued  the  Snakes.  For,  in  1851,  the  immigration 
suffered  the  most  fiendish  outrages  at  the  hands  of  these 
savages,  who  regarded  not  age,  sex,  or  condition.  Thirty- 
four  persons  were  killed,  many  wounded,  and  eighteen 
thousand  dollars'  worth  of  property  taken  by  the  Snakes 
while  the  immigration  was  passing. 

The  road  to  California,  traveled  now  continually,  was 
more  and  more  unsafe  through  all  that  region  roamed 
over  by  the  Shastas,  Rogue-river  tribes,  and  their  allies. 
Notwithstanding  the  treaty  entered  into  between  Lane  and 
the  chief  of  the  Rogue-rivers  the  previous  year,  great 
caution  was  necessary  in  selecting  and  guarding  camping 
places  and  crossing  streams.  If  a  party  wishing  to  cross 
a  river  constructed  a  ferryboat  and  left  it  tied  up  for  the 
use  of  a  party  in  the  rear,  the  latter  on  arriving  found  it 
gone.  While  making  another,  guard  had  to  be  main 
tained,  in  spite  of  which  their  horses  and  pack  animals 
were  likely  to  be  stampeded.  When  a  part  of  their  outfit 
was  ferried  over,  guard  must  be  maintained  on  both  sides 
of  the  stream,  dividing  their  force  and  increasing  their 
peril.  These  annoyances  and  occasional  conflicts  led  to 
irritation  on  the  part  of  the  miners,  who,  as  they  grew 
stronger,  were  less  careful  in  their  conduct  towards  the 



Indians,  who  were  only  too  ready  to  find  provocation  in 
the  contempt  of  white  men. 

Finally,  in  May,  contempt  was  turned  into  a  desire  for 
vengeance  by  the  treacherous  murder  of  David  Dilley,  one 
of  a  party  of  three  white  men,  and  two  professedly  friendly 
Rogue-rivers.  While  encamped  for  the  night  the  Indians 
stealthily  arose,  seized  Dilley's  gun,  and  shot  him  dead  as 
he  slept.  The  other  two  white  men,  who  were  unarmed, 
escaped  back  to  a  party  in  the  rear,  and  the  news  was 
sent  to  Shasta,  where  a  company  was  formed,  headed  by 
one  Long,  who  crossed  the  Siskiyous,  killed  two  Indians, 
one  a  sub-chief,  and  took  several  prisoners  as  hostages  for 
the  delivery  of  the  murderers. 

Demanding  the  surrender  of  the  murderers  was  well 
enough,  but  the  demand  being  accompanied  or  preceded 
by  revenge,  gave  the  head  chief  a  plausible  ground  for 
refusing  to  give  up  the  guilty  parties.  Further,  he  threat 
ened  to  destroy  Long's  company,  which  remained  at  the 
crossing  of  Rogue  river  awaiting  the  turn  of  events.  He 
was  not  molested,  but  at  a  ferry  south  of  this  one,  several 
skirmishes  occurred.  One  party  of  twenty- six  men  was 
attacked  June  first,  and  an  Indian  killed  in  the  encounter. 
On  the  day  following,  at  the  same  place,  three  several 
parties  were  set  upon  and  robbed,  one  of  which  lost  four 
men  in  the  skirmish. 

On  the  third,  Dr.  James  McBride  and  thirty-one  men 
returning  from  the  mines,  were  attacked  in  camp  south  of 
Rogue  river.  There  were  but  seventeen  guns  in  the  party, 
while  the  Indians  were  two  hundred  strong,  and  had  in 
addition  to  their  bows  and  arrows  about  as  many  firearms. 
They  were  led  by  a  chief  known  as  Chucklehead,  the  battle 
commencing  at  daybreak  and  lasting  four  hours  and  a 
half,  or  until  Chucklehead  wras  killed,  when  the  Indians 
withdrew.  No  loss  of  life  or  serious  wounds  were  sustained 
by  the  white  men,  but  about  sixteen  hundred  dollars'  worth 
of  property  and  gold  dust  was  secured  by  the  Indians, 
who  it  was  believed  lost  some  men  who  were  carried  off 


the  field.  Those  of  McBride's  party  who  were  mentioned 
by  him  for  their  bravery  in  the  fight,  were  A.  Richardson 
of  San  Jose,  California,  James  Barlow,  Captain  Turpin, 
Jesse  Dodson  and  son,  Aaron  Payne,  Dillard  Holman, 
Jesse  Runnels,  Presley  Lovelady,  and  Richard  Sparks  of 

This  affair,  following  on  the  heels  of  those  of  the  first 
and  second,  showed  the  gravity  of  the  situation.  Oregon 
was  threatened  with  another  Indian  war  —  indeed  it  was 
already  begun.  It  happened,  however,  that  the  govern 
ment  was  just  on  the  point  of  carrying  out  Thurston's 
rejection  of  the  mounted  rifle  regiment,  which  was  depart 
ing  in  divisions  overland  for  California,  and  thence  to 
Jefferson  barracks,  the  first  division  having  taken  up  the 
march  in  April,  and  the  last,  under  Major  Kearney,  in 

Kearney  was  moving  slowly  southward  exploring  for  a 
road  that  should  avoid  the  Umpqua  canon,  when  at  the 
north  end  of  the  pass  he  was  met  by  the  information  that 
the  Rogue-river  Indians  were  engaged  in  active  hostilities, 
and  were  massing  their  fighting  men  at  the  stronghold  of 
Table  Rock,  twenty  miles  east  of  the  crossing  of  Rogue 
river.  He  pushed  on  with  a  detachment  of  only  twenty- 
eight  men,  but  a  heavy  rain  had  raised  the  streams  on  his 
route  and  otherwise  impeded  his  progress,  so  that  it  was 
the  seventeenth  of  June  before  he  reached  the  river  at  a 
point  five  miles  below  Table  Rock.  Discovering  signs  of 
Indians,  he  ordered  his  command  to  fasten  their  sabers  to 
their  saddles,  that  they  should  not  by  their  noise  apprise 
the  Indians  of  their  approach,  and  dividing  his  force,  sent 
a  part  of  it  up  the  south  side  under  Captain  Walker  to  in 
tercept  any  Indians  who  might  escape  him,  while  the  re 
mainder,  under  Captain  James  Stuart,  advanced  on  the 
north  side,  hoping  to  surprise  the  Indians. 

He  found  the  Indians  quite  prepared  and  expecting  an 
attack.  His  men  dismounted  in  such  haste  that  they  left 
their  sabers  tied  to  their  saddles,  and  made  a  dash  upon 


the  enemy,  killing  eleven  Indians  and  wounding  others. 
But  Captain  Stuart,  who  was  engaged  in  a  personal  con 
test  with  a  large  Indian,  whom  he  finally  laid  prostrate, 
was  shot  through  the  kidneys  by  an  arrow  aimed  by  his 
fallen  foe,  and  died  the  following  day.  Captain  Peck  and 
one  of  the  troopers  were  wounded  in  the  skirmish,  which 
was  all  the  loss  sustained  by  Kearney's  command.  The 
detachment  fell  back,  crossing  the  river  near  the  mouth  of 
a  stream  coming  in  from  the  south,  where  camp  was  made, 
and  where  the  brave  young  Captain  Stuart  died,  lament 
ing  that  it  had  not  been  his  fate  to  have  fallen  in  battle  in 
Mexico  and  not  in  the  wilderness  by  the  hand  of  a  sav 
age.  Here  he  was  buried  and  the  earth  above  him  so 
trodden  that  his  grave  could  not  be  discovered.  From 
this  incident  in  Oregon's  early  history  Stuart  creek  re 
ceived  its  name. 

The  Indians  had  fallen  back  to  their  natural  fortifica 
tion  at  Table  Rock,  which  is  a  flat-topped  promontory 
overhanging  Rogue  river,  from  which  observations  could 
be  taken  of  the  whole  valley,  and  any  approach  signaled. 
Finding  that  his  force  was  too  small  to  attack  this  position, 
Kearney  remained  in  camp  several  days,  waiting  for  a  de 
tachment  in  his  rear  with  Lieutenants  Williamson  and 
Irvine  to  come  up,  and  the  arrival  of  volunteer  companies 
being  hastily  formed  in  the  mines. 

The  news  of  the  outbreak  had  sped  as  fast  as  horsemen 
could  carry  it  to  Oregon  City.  But  Governor  Gaines  was 
powerless  to  send  an  army  into  the  field,  no  provision  hav 
ing  been  made  by  the  territorial  legislature  for  the  organi 
zation  of  the  militia.  Pie  could  only  write  to  the  president 
that  troops  were  needed  in  Oregon,  where  Oregon's  dele 
gate  had  declared  they  were  not  needed.  Having  dis 
charged  this  duty,  he  set  out  for  the  seat  of  war  without 
even  a  military  escort.  At  Applegate's  place  in  the  Ump- 
qua  valley  he  endeavored  to  raise  a  company  which  might 
act  as  escort  and  join  the  force  in  the  field,  but  found  that 
most  of  the  men  able  to  bear  arms  already  gone,  and  was 


forced  to  wait  until  the  last  of  the  month  before  he  could 

In  the  interim,  between  the  seventeenth  and  the  twenty- 
third,  Jesse  Applegate,  who  had  been  with  Kearney  ex 
ploring  for  a  new  and  better  road  through  the  Umpqua 
country,  and  ex-Governor  Lane,  who  had  just  been  elected 
delegate  to  congress,  were  in  the  recruiting  service.  Ap 
plegate  had  been  unable  to  remain  where  Kearney  had 
left  him,  and  had  drifted  down  on  his  crusade  to  the  ferry 
on  Rogue  river  when  he  met  a  company  of  miners  return 
ing  from  Josephine  creek,  and  going  to  Yreka.  To  these 
he  suggested  that  they  might  be  of  service  in  assisting  the 
regulars  and  volunteers,  already  at  that  time  assembling. 
Thirty  men  of  this  company  proceeded  to  Willow  springs, 
where  they  waited  to  be  called  on  to  join  the  regulars,  or 
to  be  used  to  intercept  the  Indians,  who  it  was  thought 
would  flee  before  the  troops  in  this  direction. 

Lane's  election  being  secured,  he  was  returning  to  the 
gold  fields  of  Shasta  to  look  after  his  mining  interests  be 
fore  he  should  set  sail  for  Washington,  and  had  arrived  at 
the  Umpqua  canon  on  the  twenty-first,  where  he  first 
heard,  from  a  party  traveling  north,  of  the  battle  of  the 
seventeenth,  and  the  death  of  Captain  Stuart.  With  his 
party  of  about  forty  men  he  pushed  on,  and  by  the  night 
of  the  twenty-second  had  reached  the  foot  of  Rogue-river 
mountains,  where  he  was  met  by  an  express  rider  who  in 
formed  him  that  Kearney  would  make  a  march  that  night 
with  the  intention  of  striking  the  Indians  at  break  of  day 
on  the  twenty-third. 

Governed  by  this  news  he  set  out  early  on  the  morning 
of  the  twenty-third  to  join  Kearney,  but  failed  to  discover 
him,  though  he  rode  hard  all  day;  and  the  next  day  he 
fell  back  to  Camp  Stuart  to  wait  for  further  intelligence. 
During  the  evening  G.  W.  T'Vault  and  Levi  Scott,  with  a 
party  from  Kearney's  command,  came  in  for  supplies,  and 
with  them  Lane  returned,  riding  until  two  o'clock  in  the 
morning,  his  arrival  being  joyfully  welcomed  by  regulars 
and  volunteers  to  the  army. 


He  then  learned  that  there  had  been  a  skirmish  on  the 
morning  of  the  twenty-third  at  Table  Rock,  and  a  four 
hours'  battle  in  the  afternoon,  the  Indians  having  the  ad 
vantage  of  a  wooded  eminence  where  they  had  erected  a 
breastwork  of  logs;  and  the  attacking  force  the  advantage 
of  superior  arms.  The  morning's  fight  had  been  a  sur 
prise,  and  lasted  but  a  quarter  of  an  hour,  during  which, 
says  J.  A.  Card  well,  whose  party  was  at  Willow  springs, 
"  there  was  a  terrible  yelling  and  crying  by  the  Indians, 
and  howling  of  dogs."1 

The  afternoon's  battle  was  a  determined  fight,  in  which 
the  InSians  suffered  severely,  and  several  white  men  were 
wounded.  The  Indians  had  not  yet  learned  to  shoot  with 
accuracy  with  their  few  guns,  but  chief  Jo  boasted  that 
he  could  "keep  a  thousand  arrows  in  the  air  continually." 
the  ping  and  sting  of  which  were  very  annoying,  even 
when  not  deadly.  Further,  when  Kearney  proposed  mak 
ing  a  treaty,  the  proud  savages  challenged  him  to  fresh 
combat,  for  which,  indeed,  he  had  not  much  stomach. 
Chasing  naked  savages  up  and  down  hills  and  through 
wooded  ambushes  had  nothing  in  it  alluring  to  the  fighter 
of  real  battles. 

It  was,  however,  Kearney's  intention  to  attack  the 
Indians  again  on  the  morning  of  the  twenty -fifth,  but 
when  daylight  came  they  had  abandoned  their  fortifica 
tions  and  escaped  down  the  river.  The  pursuit  was 
eagerly  taken  up,  the  trail  being  found  to  cross  the  river 
seven  miles  below  Table  Rock.  Following  it  up  Sardine 
creek,  the  fugitives  were  overtaken,  but  when  discovered 
separated;  the  warriors  fleeing  to  cover  in  the  forest,  leav 
ing  their  women  and  children  to  be  captured  and  cared 
for  by  the  troops,  who,  after  scouring  the  country  for  two 
days,  returned  to  Camp  Stuart  with  thirty  prisoners. 

1  This  account  is  taken  from  a  dictation  by  J.  A.  Cardwell  of  Ashland,  and  from 
letters  by  General  Lane  and  Jesse  Applegate.  The  names  of  Waldo,  Boone,  Lame- 
rick,  Armstrong,  Hunter,  Rust,  Blanchard,  Simonson,  Scott,  and  Colonel  Tranor 
appear  in  these  letters.  Tranor  was  James  W.  of  New  Orleans,  a  brilliant  writer, 
who  was  killed  by  Indians  on  Pit  river  at  a  later  date. 


During  the  pursuit  Lane  had  been  recognized  by  the 
chiefs,  whom  he  had  met  in  council  the  previous  }rear,  who 
declaimed  to  him  in  stentorian  tones  across  the  river, 
complaining  that  white  men  on  horseback  had  invaded 
their  country,  riding  about  freely  everywhere;  that  they 
were  afraid  to  lie  down  to  sleep  lest  these  intruding 
strangers  should  be  upon  them.  Lane  reminded  them 
that  on  account  of  their  conduct  the  intruders  themselves 
enjoyed  few  opportunities  for  peaceful  rest,  and  reproached 
them  for  breaking  their  treaty,  on  which  they  declared 
themselves  tired  of  war  and  longing  for  peace.  But  Lane 
was  no  longer  in  his  official  capacity  responsible 'for  trea 
ties,  and  Kearney,  whose  march  to  Ben'cia  had  so  long 
been  interrupted,  would  consent  to  no  further  delay,  but 
in  a  few  days  took  up  the  trail,  carrying  with  him  his 
thirty  prisoners,  there  being  no  place  of  confinement  in 
southern  Oregon  where  they  could  be  left,  nor  responsible 
men  willing  to  escort  them  to  the  headquarters  of  the 
superintendent  of  Indian  affairs. 

He  had  not  proceeded  far  when  he  met  Lane  about 
returning  from  a  hasty  visit  to  Shasta,  and  who,  seeing 
Kearney's  embarrassment,  proposed  himself  to  take  charge 
of  the  prisoners,  and  deliver  them  either  to  Governor 
Gaines  or  the  superintendent.  This  offer  was  gladly 
accepted,  it  being  agreed  that  the  prisoners  should  not  be 
delivered  up  until  they  had  consented  to  a  permanent 
treaty  of  peace.  The  transferance  of  the  captive  women 
and  children  was  accomplished  by  the  aid  of  Lieutenant 
Irvine,  who  was  attached  to  Williamson's  topographical 
expedition  in  connection  with  the  Pacific  railroad  surveys 
of  the  government,  and  Captain  Walker  of  Kearney's 

Having  assumed  the  safe  conduct  of  the  prisoners,  Lane 
at  once  proceeded  north,  and  on  the  seventh  of  July  de 
livered  his  charge  to  the  governor,  who  had  at  last  reached 
Rogue  river,  but'only  to  find  the  troops  gone,  and  not  an 
Indian  within  reach.  By  means  of  the  prisoners  delivered 


to  him  by  Lane,  he  induced  eleven  of  the  head  men  and 
one  hundred  of  their  followers  to  consent  to  a  treaty  by 
which  the  Indians  agreed  to  submit  to  the  jurisdiction  and 
accept  the  protection  of  the  United  States,  and  to  restore 
the  property  stolen  from  white  people.  These  treaty- 
makers  belonged  to  what  might  be  called  the  peace  party 
in  Rogue-river  Indian  politics, —  a  party  which  came  into 
power  whenever  the  war  party  sustained  a  defeat  at  the 
hands  of  white  people,  for  several  years  in  the  history  of 
Rogue-river  valley.  In  return  for  their  promise  of  sub 
mission  they  received  back  their  captive  families,  whom 
no  doubt  the  governor  was  pleased  to  be  rid  of.  As  an 
Indian's  word  was  no  better  than  it  should  be,  the  governor, 
when  he  returned  to  Oregon  City,  recommended  that  an 
agent  should  be  sent  among  them,  supplemented  by  a 
small  military  force.  Thus  ended  the  first  military  cam 
paign  in  Rogue-river  valley. 

While  these  affairs  occupied  the  attention  of  the  few 
white  people  in  the  interior  of  southern  Oregon,  their 
brethren  on  the  coast  were  having  also  their  introduction 
to  savage  hostilities. 

About  the  first  of  June,  the  Seagull,  Captain  William 
Tichenor,  looking  for  a  port  south  of  the  Columbia  river 
whence  the  mails  and  miners'  supplies  might  be  trans 
ported  to  the  valleys  of  western  Oregon,  put  a  party  of 
nine  men  ashore  in  the  bay  now  known  as  Port  Orford, 
and  there  left  them,  intending  to  reenforce  them  on  the 
next  trip  of  the  steamer.  They  were  supplied  with  provis 
ions  and  arms,  and  were  placed  on  a  high  point  sloping 
towards  the  sea,  with  a  four-pound  cannon  for  defense  in 
case  of  attack. 

While  the  steamer  remained  in  port  the  natives  appeared 
friendly,  but  when  the  nine  men  were  left  alone  in  their 
midst,  the  temptation  to  despoil  them  of  whatever  they 
possessed  proved  greater  than  could  be  bbrne.  At  the  end 
of  two  days  they  collected  in  force,  held  a  war  dance,  and 


advanced  upon  the  temporary  fortification.  In  vain  the 
captain  of  the  little  company,  J.  M.  Kirkpatrick,  by  ex 
pressive  gestures,  motioned  them  away,  and  even  threat 
ened  them.  They  were  unacquainted  with  firearms,  and 
relied  upon  numbers,  so  they  kept  on  crowding  up  the 
slope,  and  becoming  every  moment  more  annoying,  until 
finally  they  began  seizing  the  arms  of  the  men.  At  this 
motion  Kirkpatrick  touched  off  the  cannon,  which  made 
a  vacancy  where  before  had  been  a  crowd,  and  created  a 
panic  where  before  had  been  boasting.  A  few  arrows  were 
let  fly,  but  the  besieged,  by  firing  with  sure  aim,  succeeded 
in  bringing  to  the  ground  several  warriors,  after  which 
they  fought  hand  to  hand  with  clubbed  guns.  This  ener 
getic  reception  convinced  the  attacking  party  that  more 
"medicine"  would  be  required  before  they  could  subdue 
the  nine  white  strangers,  and  they  retired,  but  only  to 
reappear  after  a  day  or  two  to  hold  another  war  dance. 

Upon  reviewing  their  numbers  and  their  situation,  with 
out  the  hope  of  reenforcement  for  some  time,  and  with  an 
insufficient  supply  of  ammunition  for  a  protracted  siege, 
the  unanimous  opinion  of  the  Port  Orford  company  was 
that  flight  would  give  them  a  chance  for  their  lives,  while 
to  remain  was  to  yield  up  all  hope,  as  the  savages  would 
finally  conquer  by  mere  numbers  and  persistence.  They 
therefore  quietly  abandoned  the  place,  and  by  traveling- 
nights  along  the  beach,  and  hiding  in  the  woods  by  day, 
reached  the  settlements  near  the  mouth  of  the  Umpqua 
river,  famished,  suffering,  and  exhausted,  where  they  were 
kindly  cared  for. 

When  Captain  Tichenor  returned  to  Port  Orford  with  a 
company  of  forty  settlers,  finding  the  place  deserted,  and 
giving  evidences  of  a  hard  struggle,  he  was  greatly 
alarmed.  His  alarm  became  conviction,  when  an  unfin 
ished  diary,  picked  up  on  the  ground  where  the  camp  of 
the  first  party  had  stood,  was  found  to  contain  an  inter 
rupted  account  of  a  battle  with  the  Indians.  The  sup 
posed  massacre  of  th  3  party  was  published  in  California 


and  Oregon,  and  much  excitement  followed.  The  reen- 
forcement  remained,  however,  and  was  farther  increased 
until  the  Port  Orford  settlers  numbered  seventy,  well 
armed,  and  able  1o  repulse  Indian  assaults. 

In  August  the  whole  colony  felt  itself  strong  enough  to 
venture  upon  an  exploring  expedition  to  discover  the  de 
sired  route  to  the  mines  and  settlements  in  the  interior, 
and  a  party  of  twenty-three  men,  led  by  W.  G.  T' Vault, 
who  had  recently  been  in  southern  Oregon,  set  out  upon 
this  service  on  the  twenty-fourth  of  the  month,  with  horses 
and  pack  animals.  Their  course  lay  south  to  Rogue  river. 
During  the  march  the  natives  they  met  were  few  and  shy, 
until  they  came  to  the  river,  when  they  made  some  hos 
tile  demonstrations,  but  were  intimidated  by  seeing  guns 
pointed  at  them  into  keeping  a  safe  distance.  By  care  in 
selecting  camping  grounds,  burning  off  the  high  grass  for 
some  distance  about  them,  and  doubling  guard,  the  party 
avoided  a  collision  with  the  savages. 

On  the  first  of  September,  a  majority  of  the  company 
being  wearied  and  dissatisfied  with  the  outlook,  deter 
mined  to  abandon  the  expedition  and  return  to  Port  Or 
ford;  only  ten  men,  including  their  leader,  being  resolved 
to  go  forward.  After  nine  days  of  wandering,  misled  by 
the  northward  trend  of  the  ridges  they  were  compelled  to 
follow,  they  found  themselves  on  the  head  waters  of  a 
stream  apparently  debouching  to  the  north  of  Point  Or 
ford,  and  therefore  probably  the  Coquille. 

Worn  with  travel,  with  only  one  hunter  in  the  party,  on 
whose  success  depended  their  subsistence,  and  their  horses 
being  unable  to  penetrate  the  jungle  of  the  river  bottom, 
it  was  decided  that  the  only  course  remaining  to  them  was 
to  trust  themselves  to  the  Indian  canoes  with  their  native 
owners.  Abandoning  their  horses  they  secured  the  ser 
vices  of  some  natives  and  their  canoes,  to  take  them  to 
the  mouth  of  the  river.  Instead  of  doing  what  was  ex 
pected  of  them,  the  Indians  landed  the  party  at  the  Co 
quille  village  whose  inhabitants  seemed  to  be  awaiting 


them,  for  no  sooner  were  the  canoes  run  on  to  the  sands 
than  their  occupants  were  surrounded  and  fighting  for  the 
possession  of  their  arms  and  lives.  Hundreds  of  naked 
warriors,  armed  with  bows  and  arrows,  war  clubs,  and 
long  knives  made  of  band  iron  from  a  wrecked  vessel,2 
assailed  them  on  every  side. 

The  assault  was  so  sudden,  and  attended  with  such  con 
fusion  of  sounds,  yells,  cries,  and  blows  that  defense  was 
nearly  impossible.  T'Vault  afterwards  said  that  the  first 
thing  he  was  aware  of  was  that  he  was  in  the  river  swim 
ming.  Not  far  from  him  was  one  of  his  men,  Gilbert 
Brush,  an  Indian  in  a  canoe  standing  over  him,  and  beat 
ing  his  head  with  a  paddle,  the  water  about  him  being 
crimsoned  with  blood. 

While  he  looked  he  saw  a  canoe  shoot  out  from  shore,  in 
which  stood  an  Indian  boy  who  beat  off  Brush's  tor m enter 
and  assisted  the  wounded  man  into  his  boat;  then  picking 
up  T'Vault,  handed  him  his  paddle,  and  flinging  himself 
into  the  water,  swam  back  to  the  village.  T'Vault  and 
Brush  on  landing  divested  themselves  of  their  sodden  cloth 
ing,3  and  plunged  into  the  forest.  T'Vault  was  not  badly 
wounded,  but  Brush  was  partly  scalped  and  very  much 
bruised.  They  were  on  the  south  side  of  the  river,  and 
their  hope  was  in  reaching  Port  Orford.  By  traveling  all 
night  along  the  beach  they  came  to  Cape  Blanco,  where 
the  natives  received  them  in  a  friendly  manner,  protecting 
and  feeding  them  and  conveying  them  in  their  canoes  to 
Port  Orford. 

As  to  the  remainder  of  the  ill-fated  party,  five  were  mas 
sacred  and  three  escaped.  L.  L.  Williams  of  Vermont,  a 
pioneer  of  Ashland;  T.  J.  Davenport,  then  a  young  man 
from  Massachusetts,  and  Cyrus  Heddeii  from  Newark,  New 
Jersey,  were  the  survivors.  Patrick  Murphy  of  New  York, 
A.  S.  Dougherty  of  Texas,  John  P.  Holland  of  New  Hamp- 

2  The  Hagstaff,  wrecked  in  Rogue  river. 

3 In  T' Vault's  account  he  does  not  tell  us  why  he  left  off  his  clothing — whether  as 
a  bribe  to  the  Indians  not  to  pursue  them,  or  because  they  were  heavy  with  water, 
probably  the  latter. 


shire,  Jeremiah  Ryland  of  Maryland,  and  J.  P.  Pepper  of 
New  York,  were  the  victims.4  The  three  who  escaped  made 
their  way  to  the  Umpqua,  where  they  were  kindly  cared 
for,5  making  the  third  party,  which,  wounded  and  famished, 
had  reached  this  settlement  during  the  summer  from  the 

The  persons  interested  in  Port  Orford  continued  to 
explore  for  some  time,  vainly,  for  a  road  to  the  interior, 
and  to  represent  the  superior  advantages  of  the  harbor, 

4  Alta  Californian,  October  14,  1851. 

5  Williams'  narrative  of  his  flight  and  plight  exceeds  in  interest  the  famous  one  of 
Samuel  Coulter.    He  was  attacked  as  he  stepped  ashore  by  two  powerful  savages, 
who  endeavored  to  seize  his  rifle.    This  being  accidentally  discharged  frightened 
them  away  for  a  moment,  giving  him  an  opportunity  to  attempt  to  force  his  way 
through  the  swarm  of  dusky  demons  who  sought  to  arrest  his  flight  or  to  possess 
themselves  of  his  gun.    What  with  this  attempt,  and  having  to  use  it  as  a  club, 
there  was  soon  nothing  left  of  it  but  the  naked  barrel.    But  he  was  young,  strong, 
and  fleet  of  foot,  and  though  once  felled  to  the  ground,  succeeded  in  fighting  himself 
free  from  the  crowd  and  escaping  towards  the  forest.    As  he  ran  across  the  open 
ground,  an  arrow  struck  him  in  the  left  side  below  the  ribs,  penetrating  the  abdomen 
and  bringing  him  to  a  sudden  stop.    Finding  that  he  could  not  take  a  step,  he  quickly 
drew  out  the  shaft,  which  broke  off,  one  joint  of  its  length  with  the  barb  being  left 
in  his  body.    In  his  excitement  he  was  unconscious  of  any  pain,  and  ran  on  with, 
for  a  while,  a  dozen  Indians  in  pursuit,  the  number  finally  dwindling  down  to  two, 
who  took  turns  in  shooting  arrows  at  him.    Being  in  despair  of  escaping  and  irritated 
by  their  persistence,  he  turned  pursuer,  but  when  he  ran  after  one,  the  other  shot  at 
him  from  behind.    At  this  critical  moment  the  suspenders  of  his  pantaloons  gave 
way,  letting  them  fall  about  his  feet,  compelling  him  to  stop  to  kick  them  off.    At 
the  same  time  his  eyes  and  mouth  were  filled  with  blood  from  a  wound  on  his  head; 
and,  as  blind  and  despairing  he  turned  towards  the  forest,  he  fell  headlong.    This 
was  a  signal  for  his  pursuers  to  rush  upon  him.    In  the  hands  of  the  foremost  one 
was  a  gun  which  he  attempted  to  fire,  and  failed.    Says  Williams  in  his  narrative  : 
' '  The  sickening  sensations  of  the  last  half  hour  were  at  once  dispelled  when  I  realized 
that  the  gun  had  refused  to  fire.    I  was  on  my  feet  in  a  moment,  rifle  barrel  in  hand. 
Instead  of  running  I  stood  firm,  and  the  Indian  with  the  rifle  also  met  me  with  it, 
drawn  by  the  breech.    The  critical  moment  of  the  whole  affair  had  arrived,  and  I 
knew  it  must  be  the  final  struggle.    My  first  two  or  three  blows  failed  utterly,  and  I 
received  some  severe  bruises ;  but  fortune  was  on  my  side,  and  a  lucky  blow  given 
with  unusual  force  fell  upon  my  antagonist,  killing  him  almost  instantly.    I  seized 
the  gun,  a  sharp  report  followed,  and  I  had  the  satisfaction  of  seeing  my  remaining 
pursuer  stagger  and  fall  dead."    Williams  then,  expecting  to  die,  lay  down  in  the 
woods,  but  was  discovered  by  Hedden,  who  was  uninjured,  and  who,  with  the 
assistance  of  some  friendly  Umpquas  brought  him  in  six  days  to  the  Umpqua  river, 
where  the  brig  Almira,   Captain   Gibbs,  was  lying,  which   took  the  refugees  to 
Gardiner.    The  wound  in  Williams'  abdomen  discharged  for  a  year;  but  it  was  four 
years  before  the  arrow-head  worked  out,  and  seven  years  before  the  broken  shaft 
was  expelled. 

6  One  of  the  three  was  of  the  crew  of  the  pilot  boat  Hagstaff,  which  was  wrecked 
by  Rogue-river  Indians,  the  captain  and  his  men  narrowly  escaping  by  fleeing  to  the 
woods  where  they  wandered  for  three  weeks  before  being  rescued  by  the  settlers  on 
the  Umpqua. 


being  aided  in  their  .enterprise  by  the  reports  of  govern 
ment  officials,  who  knew  very  little  about  the  merits  of 
the  place  which  received  their  endorsement.  Such  in 
fluences  were  brought  to  bear  upon  the  commander  of  the 
Pacific  division,  that,  with  Kearney's  account  of  Indian 
affairs  in  Rogue-river  valley,  he  was  persuaded  to  with 
draw  Lieutenant  Kantz  with  his  company  of  twenty  men 
stationed  at  Astoria,  where  they  were  of  no  service,  and 
send  them  to  Port  Orford,  which  was  ignorantly  supposed 
to  be  a  proper  location  for  a  garrison  to  hold  in  check  the 
Indians  of  the  valley.  It  was  even  represented  to  General 
Hitchcock  that  the  distance  from  Port  Orford  to  Camp 
Stuart  was  only  thirty-five  miles,  whereas  it  was  more 
nearly  eighty  in  a  direct  line,  the  necessary  meanderings 
making  it  about  one  hundred. 

So  far,  then,  as  Kantz's  command  could  be  of  use  to  the 
miners,  it  was  none;  nor  was  it  large  enough  to  be  of  use 
anywhere  in  an  Indian  country,  except  as  a  sample  of 
what  might  be  sometime  furnished  in  a  larger  quantity. 
By  the  steamer  Seagull,  which  left  Portland  September 
twelfth,  at  which  time  T'Vault's  party  was  wandering  in 
the  forest  on  the  head  waters  of  the  Coquille,  the  superin 
tendent  of  Indian  affairs,  with  his  agents,  Parrish  and 
Spalding,  took  passage  for  Port  Orford  with  the  intention 
of  making  a  treaty  with  the  coast  tribes.  They  arrived  on 
the  fourteenth,  the  day  on  which  the  massacre  on  the 
Coquille  river  took  place,  and  two  days  afterwards  T'Vault 
and  Brush  made  their  appearance  with  the  story  of  their 
misfortunes  and  marvelous  escape  through  the  compassion 
of  the  Cape  Blanco  natives. 

The  superintendent  found  himself  in  an  embarrassing 
position.  He  had  come  to  treat  for  peace  and  friendship, 
to  sue  for  which  under  the  circumstances  was  to  humiliate 
the  people  he  represented.  Nor  was  he  able  to  appear  in 
the  role  of  an  avenger,  with  only  a  squad  of  twenty  men 
under  a  young  lieutenant  at  his  back.  In  this  dilemma 
he  found  Parrish,  who  had  a  better  knowledge  of  Indian 


character  than  himself,  a  valuable  assistant.  The  Cape 
Blanco  Indians  were  by  him  persuaded  to  undertake 
finding  out  what  had  been  the  fate  of  the  missing  members 
of  T'Vault's  party.  To  accomplish  this  two  Indian  women 
were  sent  on  a  visit  to  the  Coquilles,  who  succeeded  in 
learning  the  particulars  of  the  affair,  and  who  buried  the 
bodies  of  the  five  men  who  were  killed  at  the  village.  It 
was  believed  by  them  that  some  had  escaped  alive. 

Several  days  were  spent  in  considering  what  was  best  to 
be  done,  and,  at  length,  on  the  twenty-second  of  Septem 
ber,  Parrish  set  out  for  the  Coquille,  accompanied  only  by 
a  man  of  the  Tototem  tribe  on  the  Columbia  river,  who 
had  been  stolen  from  the  Coquilles  when  a  child.  An 
escort  which  was  offered  was  rejected.  Says  Parrish:  "I 
said  to  Dr.  Dart,  'I  want  nothing  but  this  Coquille  Indian, 
a  pony,  ten  pounds  of  bread,  some  salmon,  three  brilliant 
red  blankets,  thirty  yards  of  calico  of  the  gayest  colors, 
and  some  tobacco.'"7 

Arriving  on  the  evening  of  the  second  day  near  the 
mouth  of  the  Coquille,  he  fell  in  with  one  of  the  tribe,  and 
found  that  his  interpreter  had  not  forgotten  his  native 
tongue.  Remaining  on  the  beach  he  sent  his  interpreter 
with  the  Indian  to  the  Coquille  village,  telling  him  to 
spend  the  night  there  if  he 'chose,  but  to  invite  the  three 
principal  chiefs  to  visit  his  camp  at  nine  o'clock  the  next 
morning,  unarmed,  at  the  same  time  presenting  each  of 
them  with  a  red  blanket,  a  square  of  calico,  and  some 

As  he  had  hoped,  these  gifts  were  sufficient  to  induce 
the  chiefs  to  meet  him,  and  they  were  received  with  a 
hand-shake  and  a  present  of  more  tobacco.  But  they  had 
no  sooner  concluded  the  ceremonials  of  greeting  than 
twenty  or  more  stalwart  fellows  appeared,  armed  with 
bows  and  arrows,  and  the  long  knives  before  mentioned, 
the  interpreter  conducting  them.  It  looked  like  treachery, 
and  gave  the  agent  a  few  quicker  heart-beats,  but  he  sub- 

7  Parrish's  Oregon  Anecdotes,  MS.  56. 


dued  any  tendency  to  nervousness,  and  giving  his  hand  to 
each,  with  a  little  tobacco,  invited  them  to  be  seated  in  a 
circle,  in  the  middle  of  which  he  placed  himself  and  his 

Two  hours  were  spent  in  explaining  to  them  his  purpose 
in  coming  to  them,  which  was  to  make  them  the  friends 
of  the  white  people  at  Port  Orford,  who  had  established 
themselves  there  with  the  intention  of  remaining.  He, 
as  representative  of  the  Port  Orford  people,  had  come  to 
talk  with  them,  and  would  be  glad  if  some  of  them  would 
return  with  him,  and  see  his  friends  for  themselves.  At 
first  it  seemed  as  if  a  few  would  go,  but  their  hearts  failing 
them  they  finally  withdrew  their  consent.  A  feast  of 
boiled  salmon  and  bread  was  next  resorted  to;  after  which 
pieces  of  calico  were  given  to  each  warrior,  and  a  red  silk 
sash  from  Parrish's  own  person  to  the  head  chief,  who,  in 
return,  presented  as  a  token  of  friendship  a  sea-otter  skin. 
But  he  was  unable  to  induce  any  of  the  Coquilles  to  put 
themselves  in  the  power  of  the  white  people.  Thus  failed 
the  first  attempt  to  treat  with  the  Coquilles. 

Before  leaving  Oregon  City  for  Port  Orford,  Superintend 
ent  Dart  had,  on  learning  that  the  informal  treaty  made 
by  Governor  Gaines  with  the  Rogue-rivers  had  been  viola 
ted,  a  number  of  murders  and  robberies  having  been  com 
mitted,  sent  word  to  these  Indians  to  meet  him  at  Port 
Orford.  Now,  if  there  is  one  thing  more  than  another  that 
an  Indian  will  not  do,  it  is  to  invade  the  territory  of  a 
neighboring  tribe  with  whom  he  is  not  allied,  except  for 
purposes  of  hostility,  and  that  Dart  should  have  known. 
That  he  did  not  know  the  distance  or  the  difficulty  of 
communication  was  not  singular,  when  it  is  remembered 
that  the  Port  Orford  company  published  it  as  thirty-five 
miles.  However  that  may  be,  the  Indians  were  more  irri 
tated  than  tranquilized  by  the  superintendent's  message  to 
them.  The  whole  number  of  murders  committed  by  the 
Rogue-rivers  during  the  summer  of  1851  was  thirty-eight, 


and  the  property  taken  was  very  considerable  in  amount. 
A.  A.  Skinner,  who,  after  the  abolishment  of  the  treaty 
commission,  was  retained  as  Indian  agent,  held  confer 
ences  with  different  bauds  in  the  Rogue-river  country  and 
secured  professions  of  friendship  by  making  presents,  but 
that  was  all. 

When  General  Hitchcock  received  information  in  Sep 
tember  of  the  massacre  on  the  Coquille,  he  ordered  a 
military  force  transferred  to  Port  Orford.  This  force  con 
sisted  of  companies  E  and  A,  first  dragoons,  dismounted, 
and  company  C  with  their  horses.  It  was  officered  by 
Lieutenant -Colonel  Casey  of  the  second  infantry,  and 
Lieutenants  Stanton,  Thomas  Wright,  and  George  Stone- 
man.  The  dismounted  men  arrived  at  Port  Orford  Octo 
ber  twenty-second,  and  the  mounted  company  on  the 
twenty-seventh.  Their  errand  was  to  punish  the  Coquilles. 
On  the  thirty-first,  they  commenced  their  march  to  the 
mouth  of  the  Coquille,  finding  the  greatest  difficulty  in 
getting  horses,  baggage,  and  even  men  over  the  rough  and 
slippery  trail  along  the  beach,  but  arriving  at  the  river  on 
the  third  of  November,  guided  by  Brush,  survivor  of  the 
massacre.  Camp  was  made,  and  preparations  entered  into 
for  a  campaign. 

The  troops  had  not  long  to  wait  before  discovering  the 
temper  of  the  natives.  Lieutenant  Wright  having  care 
lessly  wandered  away 'from  camp  was  met  by  a  single 
warrior,  who  struggled  with  him  for  possession  of  his  gun, 
and  was- shot  for  his  temerity.  On  the  fifth,  the  Indians 
gathered  on  the  north  side  of  the  river  and  challenged  the 
troops  to  combat.  In  addition  to  their  bows  and  arrows, 
and  their  rude  swords,  they  carried  now  the  arms  taken 
from  T'Vault's  party,  consisting  of  fourteen  shooting  arms, 
many  of  them  repeating,8  which  in  the  sudden  violence  of 
the  attack  had  been  captured  on  the  memorable  fourteenth 
of  September. 

8  Eight  rifles,  one  musket,  one  double-barreled  pistol,  one  Sharp's  thirty-six  shoot 
ing  rifle,  one  Colt's  six-shooter,  one  brace  holster  pistol,  with  ammunition. 


The  two  forces  fired  at  each  other  across  the  river  with 
out  doing  any  harm ;  and  as  soon  as  a  raft  could  be  con 
structed,  which  was  not  until  the  seventh,  the  main  body 
of  the  troops  crossed  to  the  north  side,  Colonel  Casey  with 
Stanton  and  the  mounted  men  remaining  on  the  south 
side.  In  this  order  they  proceeded  up  the  valley  of  the 
Coquille  in  a  cold  rain,  pursuing  as  best  they  might  the 
ever  elusive  enemy,  marching  for  several  days  alternately 
through  swamps  and  over  wooded  hills,  scrambling 
through  thickets  by  day,  and  lying  down  in  wet  blankets 
by  night,  finding  nothing  on  their  route  but  deserted  vil 
lages  on  which  to  wreck  their  constantly  accumulating 
wrath,  and  which  they  made  a  point  of  destroying. 

After  a  few  days  of  this  useless  pursuing,  Casey  returned 
to  the  mouth  of  the  river,  and  changed  the  plan  of  his 
operations.  He  sent  to  Port  Orford  for  three  small  boats, 
which  were  brought  overland.  Into  these  he  crowded 
sixty  men,  so  packed  together  that  if  they  had  met  the 
enemy  they  could  not  have  used  their  arms.  But  no 
enemy  appeared  while  the  flotilla  proceeded  for  four  days 
up  the  river  to  the  junction  of  the  north  and  south  forks, 
where,  on  the  twentieth,  the  weather  remaining  very  in 
clement  and  the  current  in  the  river  being  strong,  the 
troops  were  disembarked. 

On  the  twenty-first,  Stoneman  was  detailed  to  proceed 
up  the  south  branch  with  one  boat  and  fourteen  men,  and 
Wright  with  a  similar  force  was  sent  up  the  north  branch. 
About  seven  miles  up  the  south  fork  the  Indians  were  dis 
covered  in  force  on  both  banks.  After  firing  a  few  shots 
Stoneman  returned  and  reported  their  position.  Wright, 
who  had  found  no  Indians,  although  he  had  penetrated 
much  further  into  the  wilderness,  also  returned  to  camp; 
and  on  the  twenty-second  the  united  forces  set  out  for  the 
Indian  encampment,  the  troops  marching  up  the  right 
bank,  two  boats  only  with  ten  men  preceding  them. 
Great  caution  was  observed,  one  company  crossing  to  the 
left  bank  half  a  mile  below  the  village,  and  all  advancing 



in  silence  to  the  point  of  attack.  To  surprise  an  Indian 
camp  which  had  been  notified  of  the  neighborhood  of 
an  enemy  was  an  impossibility.  The  boats,  however, 
served  as  a  decoy,  and  the  Indians  were  gathered  on  the 
bank  of  the  stream  to  oppose  the  landing  of  the  white 
men,  as  was  expected,  when  Casey  and  Wright  dashed 
among  them.  Stoneman,  from  the  opposite  shore,  was 
employed  in  picking  off  those  who  could  be  reached,  and 
for  about  twenty  minutes  the  battle  raged  hotly,  fifteen 
Indians  being  killed,  and  many  wounded.  The  reports  of 
the  affair  make  no  mention  of  any  white  men  killed  or 
injured.9  The  Indians  fled  to  the  woods,  and  the  troops 
returned  to  camp  at  the  mouth  of  the  river,  and  after  a 
few  days  to  Port  Orford,  where  a  garrison  was  erected  of 
log  buildings  about  half  a  mile  from  the  town.  Early  in 
December  Casey's  command  returned  by  sea  to  San  Fran 
cisco,  and  the  government  had  a  bill  of  twenty-five  thou 
sand  dollars  to  pay,  for  moving  troops,  horses,  and  supplies 
by  the  steamers  of  the  Pacific  Mail  Company,  was  a  costly 
affair  in  1851. 

In  January,  1852,  however,  the  schooner  Captain  Lin 
coln,  Naghel  master,  was  chartered  to  carry  troops,  under 
Lieutenant  Stanton,  and  military  stores  to  supply  the  new 
post  called  Fort  Orford.  A  heavy  fog  prevailing,  the  vessel 
went  ashore  on  a  sandy  point  two  miles  north  of  the  en 
trance  to  Coos  bay,  where  by  good  fortune  the  troops  and 
cargo  were  safely  landed,  if  it  could  be  supposed  that  a 
mere  wind-swept  sandspit  was  land.  The  men  contrived 
to  shelter  themselves  under  sails  stretched  on  booms  and 
spars,  where  they  spent  four  months  guarding  the  stores 
from  the  pilfering  fingers  of  the  natives  who  found  en 
trance  to  "  Camp  Castaway." 

An  effort  was  immediately  made  to  explore  a  trail  to 
Fort  Orford,  over  which  a  pack  train  could  be  sent  to  their 

9  The  writer  of  the  letter  from  which  the  above  account  was  taken  was  drowned 
in  Sixes  river  before  his  letter  was  finished  :  Alia  Californian,  December  14, 1851. 


relief,  twelve  dragoons  being  assigned  to  this  duty.  The 
detachment  carried  dispatches  for  San  Francisco,  and  was 
instructed  to  wait  at  Fort  Orford  for  the  answer;  but  the 
captain  of  the  mail  steamer,  which  carried  the  answer, 
and  also  Quartermaster  Miller,  under  an  agreement  to  stop 
at  Port  Orford,  being  new  to  the  coast  mistook  Rogue  river 
entrance  for  this  port,  and  being  alarmed  at  his  error,  pro 
ceeded  direct  to  the  Columbia  with  the  quartermaster,  who 
did  not  reach  his  destination  until  the  twelfth  of  April. 
He  then  took  a  train  of  mules  from  Port  Orford  to  Camp 
Castaway  over  the  trail  opened  in  January,  and  which  was 
found  to  be  a  most  trying  one,  consuming  four  days  in  the 
fifty  miles  of  travel. 

Miller  proceeded  to  the  Urnpqua,  where  he  found  the 
schooner  Nassau,  which  he  chartered,  and  brought  round 
to  Coos  bay,  this  being  the  first  vessel  to  enter  this  harbor. 
The  brig  Fawn  soon  after  arrived  at  the  Umpqua  with 
wagons  for  the  quartermaster's  department,  and  the  mules 
were  sent  to  haul  them  down  the  beach  to  Camp  Casta 
way,  where  they  were  loaded  with  the  shipwrecked  cargo, 
which  was  thus  transported  across  some  miles  of  sand 
dunes  to  Coos  bay  and  taken  on  board  the  Nassau  for  Port 
Orford,  where  they  arrived  May  twentieth.  Such  were 
some  of  the  difficulties  of  Indian  warfare  in  this  wild 
region  of  perilous  coast,  rough  and  steep  hills,  forests  and 
morasses,  interspersed  with  spots  of  Eden-like  beauty. 

It  is  only  necessary  to  add  to  this  picture  of  the  situa 
tion  that  no  road  to  the  valley  was  yet  opened.  But,  on 
finding  that  dragoons  could  be  of  no  service  in  the  Co- 
quille  county,  Casey  detached  Stanton  from  his  command 
to  escort  Lieutenant  Williamson  of  the  topographical  en 
gineers  in  the  winter  of  1851-52,  while  exploring  for  a 
practicable  route;  and  in  the  autumn  of  the  latter  year 
one  was  surveyed  out  and  opened.  In  the  meantime,  Fort 
Orford  was  garrisoned  by  twelve  dragoons  under  Lieuten 
ant  Stanton  and  twenty  artillerymen  under  Lieutenant 
Wyman,  neither  of  any  use  in  pursuing  Indians  in  the 


coast  mountains,  had  their  numbers  been  sufficient;  and 
utterly  useless  to  protect  miners  or  settlers  in  the  interior. 

A  more  intimate  acquaintance  had  not  led  to  a  feeling 
of  confidence  between  the  white  and  red  races  in  southern 
Oregon.  The  conditions  of  Indian  warfare  here  were 
somewhat  different  from  those  of  the  Cayuse  war.  Less 
intelligent  than  the  Cayuses,  they  were  not  less  brave. 
Having  nothing  of  their  own,  they  were  the  more  covetous 
of  the  possessions  of  others.  Lacking  a  knowledge  of  any 
law,  human  or  divine,  except  the  law  implanted  by  nature 
in  the  beginning  of  people  —  "an  eye  for  an  eye,  and  a 
tooth  for  a  tooth,"  they  were  quick  to  find  offenses  and 
ready  to  avenge  them.  Without  feeling  under  moral 
obligations  to  keep  faith  with  others,  they  were  ready  to 
resent  any  appearance  of  duplicity  in  the  superior  race,  of 
whom  they  were  unavoidably  jealous.  On  the  other  hand, 
the  human  nature  in  white  men  was  apt  to  come  to  the 
surface  after  a  few  losses  of  property,  or  of  friends,  or 
both.  Therefore,  the  peace  which  had  been  purchased 
with  presents  by  agent  Skinner  in  the  autumn  of  1851 
was  not  lasting. 

The  Shasta  and  Rogue-river  Indians  were  one  nation, 
divided  under  several  chiefs,  whose  followers  ranged 
certain  districts.  For  instance,  Tolo  was  the  head  of  the 
band  living  in  the  country  about  Yreka;  Scarface  and 
Bill  in  Shasta  valley ;  John  in  Scott  valley,  arid  Sam  and 
Jo  in  Rogue-river  valley,  John's  father  having  once  been 
head  chief  over  all.  There  were  besides  these,  two  chiefs 
living  at  the  foot  of  the  Siskiyous,  on  the  north  side, 
namely,  Tipso,  or  the  "Hairy,"  from  his  having  a  heavily 
bearded  face,  and  Sullix,  the  "  Bad  Tempered."  Both  of 
these  chiefs  were  very  hostile  to  white  men,  and  even 
fought  other  bands  of  their  own  nation. 

Troubles  began  on  the  north  side  of  Rogue  river  by  the 
robbery  of  a  citizen  of  the  Wallamet  valley  in  the  Grave 
creek  hills.  Then  came  an  attack  on  a  party  of  five  pros- 


pectors  led  by  James  Coy,  at  the  mouth  of  Josephine 
creek  in  the  Illinois  valley.  One  man>scaped  from  camp, 
and  fled  to  Jacksonville  for  aid,  while  the  remaining  four 
defended  a  slight  fortification  for  two  days,  or  until  a  party 
of  thirty-five  miners  came  to  their  relief.  These  pros 
pectors  had  discovered  the  remains  of  recently  murdered 
men  before  they  were  attacked.  This  was  in  April. 

On  the  eighth  of  April,  Calvin  Woodman  was  murdered 
by  Scarface,  on  a  tributary  of  the  Klamath.  The  miners 
and  settlers  of  Shasta  and  Scott  valleys  arrested  John,  the 
head  chief,  and  demanded  the  surrender  of  Scarface,  and 
of  Bill  as  accessory,  but  John  refused  and  escaped.  The 
miners  then  organized,  and  in  a  fight  with  the  Indians 
which  ensued,  the  sheriff  was  wounded  and  several  horses 
killed.  This  collision  did  not  tend  to  mend  matters,  and 
the  Indians  commenced  moving  their  families  to  the 
mountains  on  Salmon  river,  in  preparation  for  hostilities. 

At  this  critical  juncture,  Mr.  Elisha  Steele,  who  was  well 
known  to  the  Indians,  and  had,  like  Lane,  a  remarkable 
ability  to  gain  their  confidence,  so  much  so  that  they 
called  him  "Jo  Lane's  Brother,"  happened  to  arrive  from 
Yreka  at  Johnson's  rancho,  in  Scott  valley,  where  he  found 
a  company  of  miners  from  Scott  bar,  who  had  been  unsuc 
cessfully  pursuing  the  murderers  of  Woodman. 

Concerned  for  the  safety  of  Johnson's  family  should  the 
Indians  break  out  into  general  warfare,  Steele  collected 
the  Indians  in  Scott  valley,  and  held  a  council  with  Tolo, 
his  son  Philip,  and  John,  with  three  of  his  brothers,  one 
of  whom  was  known  as  Jim.  These  professed  to  desire 
peace,  and  offered  to  accompany  Steele  in  search  of  the 
murderers.  A  party  was  made  up,  namely,  Steele,  John 
McLeod,  James  Bruce,  James  White,  John  Galvin,  Peter 
Snellback,  and  a  lad  called  Harry.  These  were  joined  at 
Shasta  canon  by  J.  D.  Cook,  F.  W.  Merritt,  L.  S.  Thomp 
son,  and  Ben  Wright,  who  acted  as  interpreter. 

Proceeding  to  Yreka  to  procure  the  necessary  order  for 
the  arrest  of  Scarface  and  Bill,  Steele  had  some  difficulty 


to  prevent  the  citizens  from  executing  vengeance  on  the 
the  Indians  with  him;  but  having  obtained  the  papers 
required,  finally  led  his  party  safely  away.  A  two  days' 
march  brought  them  to  the  stronghold  of  the  criminals, 
who  had  prepared  for  just  such  a  visit  as  this  by  fleeing  to 
the  jurisdiction  of  Sam  on  Rogue  river,  Sam  having 
already  declared  war. 

The  casus  belli  of  this  chief  combined  two  accusations 
against  Dr.  Ambrose,  a  settler;  first,  that  the  doctor  had 
taken  the  land  which  he  habitually  occupied  with  his 
people  for  a  winter  residence;  and,  second,  that  the  doctor 
refused  to  betroth  his  infant  daughter  to  Sam's  infant  son. 

On  learning  these  facts,  Tolo,  Philip,  and  Jim  withdrew 
from  Steele's  party,  but  substituted  two  young  warriors, 
who  were  pledged  either  to  find  the  murderers  or  to  suffer 
in  their  stead.  The  company  then  divided,  a  party  under 
Ben  Wright  going  to  the  mines  on  the  Klamath  river,  and 
Steele  to  Rogue  river.  He  received  confirmation  of  the 
war  rumor  while  crossing  the  Siskiyou  from  two  of  Sam's 
warriors  whom  the  party  captured,  one  of  whom  was  shot 
in  attempting  to  escape,  under  the  following  circumstances : 
When  rumors  of  murder  and  Sam's  declaration  of  war 
reached  Jacksonville,  a  company  of  seventy-five  or  eighty 
men  was  organized  under  John  K.  Lamerick,  captain.  On 
hearing  of  this  the  agent,  Skinner,  hastened  to  remon 
strate,  and  obtained  a  promise  from  the  volunteers  that 
time  should  be  given  him  to  hold  a  parley  with  the 
Indians.  A  committee  of  four  was  appointed  to  accom 
pany  the  agent,  who  found  Sam  at  his  encampment  on 
Big  bar,  two  miles  from  the  house  of  Dr.  Ambrose,  and 
near  the  site  of  Camp  Stuart.  He  made  no  objection  to 
meet  Skinner,  and  declared  himself  for  peace,  but  proposed 
to  send  for  Jo  and  his  band,  who  could  not  arrive  before 
the  morrow.  To  this  proposition  Skinner  and  the  com 
mittee  agreed. 

Before  the  meeting  took  place,  Steele  arrived  at  Jackson 
ville  to  demand  of  Sam  the  surrender  of  Scarface  and  Bill ; 


and  Skinner  agreed  to  make  the  delivery  of  the  criminals 
one  of  the  conditions  of  peace,  but  confessed  that  the  sit 
uation  was  critical.  At  the  time  appointed,  Skinner  and 
Steele,  with  their  respective  parties,  and  the  volunteers 
under  Lamerick,  repaired  to  Big  bar,  where  they  found 
the  Indians  as  agreed.  A  message  was  sent  to  Sam  by 
one  of  Steele's  Shastas,  asking  him  to  meet  the  white  men 
on  their  side  of  the  river,  bringing  with  him  Jo  and  a  body 
guard  of  a  few  warriors,  with  which  request  he  complied 
after  some  parleying;  but  on  seeing  the  volunteers  mounted 
and  drawn  up  in  line,  hesitated  to  meet  them.  Skinner, 
to  reassure  him,  ordered  the  volunteers  to  dismount  and 
stack  arms,  which  was  done. 

Now  ensued  a  conflict  of  judgment  between  Skinner, 
who  was  an  authorized  agent  on  his  own  ground,  and 
Steele,  who  held  no  commission,  and  who  was  there  to 
arrest  Indians  belonging  on  the  south  side  of  the  Siskiyou. 
The  Shasta,  whom  Steele  had  sent  to  Sam's  camp,  reported 
that  the  murderers  were  there,  and  Steele  demanded  their 
immediate  arrest.  But  Skinner,  fearing  to  bring  on  a  bat 
tle,  opposed  it.  Sam  also  refused  to  negotiate  until  the 
two  Rogue-rivers  captured  by  Steele  on  the  mountains 
were  released.  An  altercation  then  took  place  between 
the  principals  in  the  council.  Skinner,  at  last  addressing 
the  prisoners,  informed  them  that  he  was  their  white  chief, 
and  that  he  restored  them  to  liberty.  Steele,  on  the  other 
hand,  warned  them  if  they  accepted  liberty  and  attempted 
to  escape  they  would  be  shot,  and  stationed  his  men  so  as 
to  form  a  guard,  and  to  prevent  a  rescue,  should  a  surprise 
be  planned  by  the  Indians. 

As  the  council  proceeded,  a  hundred  armed  Indians 
crossed  the  river,  moving  about  freely  among  the  unarmed 
white  men,  which  caused  the  volunteers  to  resume  their 
weapons.  The  council  under  these  circumstances  could 
only  be  a  failure.  Sam  had  never  meant  to  enter  into  a 
treaty  which  should  be  binding  on  him ;  Steele  was  justi 
fied,  in  his  own  view,  in  holding  as  hostages  the  two  Rogue- 


rivers  until  the  murderers  were  surrendered;  and  Skinner 
being  a  peace  man,  whose  duty  it  was  to  prevent  war,  was 
forced  to  make  concessions  which  in  the  end  might  be 
damaging  to  his  own  cause;  and  finally  Sam  declared 
that  the  murderers  would  not  be  given  up. 

Pretending  that  he  wished  to  consult  with  some  of  his 
people,  the  chief  obtained  leave  to  withdraw  from  the 
council  and  recross  the  river.  Once  on  the  further  shore 
he  shouted  back  his  defiance  and  refused  to  return.  The 
volunteer  force  then  divided,  half,  under  Lamerick,  going 
to  a  ford  above,  and  the  other  part  going  below  Big  bar, 
prepared  to  cross  and  attack  Sam's  camp  should  any  hos 
tile  demonstrations  be  made  on  the  council  ground,  where 
Steele's  party  with  Skinner  and  the  crowd  of  Indians  re 

Skinner,  fearing  an  outbreak  and  anxious  to  prevent  it, 
followed  the  chief  to  the  north  side  of  the  river,  about  half 
the  Indians  on  the  council  ground  also  returning.  Steele, 
becoming  alarmed  for  the  agent's  safety,  then  placed  a 
guard  at  the  crossing  to  detain  those  still  on  the  south 
side  from  rejoining  their  fellows,  and  sent  one  of  his 
Shastas  to  warn  him;  and  although  Skinner  was  aware 
that  the  messenger  could  point  out  to  him  the  guilty 
Indians,  he  would  not  allow  him  to  do  it,  fearing  the 
movement  would  precipitate  bloodshed. 

The  agent  had  only  just  reached  camp  when  it  was  re 
ported  that  Scarface  with  two  others  were  seen  fleeing  in 
the  direction  of  Klamath,  and  a  commotion  arose  which 
alarmed  the  Indians  and  caused  them  to  seek  the  cover 
of  a  piece  of  woodland  in  the  vicinity  as  if  for  a  skirmish. 
Alarmed  in  their  turn,  Steele's  party  hastened  to  a  position 
to  intercept  them,  and  an  encounter  appeared  imminent, 
when  Martin  Angell,  a  settler,  formerly  of  the  Wallamet 
valley,  where  he  was  well  known  and  respected,  proposed 
to  the  Indians  thus  situated,  numbering  about  fifty,  to  lay 
down  their  arms  and  take  shelter  in  a  log  house  in  the 
vicinity,  where  they  should  be  kept  as  hostages  until  the 


murderers  were  given  up  to  be  tried.  They  assented,  but 
as  soon  as  they  had  filed  past  Steele's  party  they  made  a 
dash  to  gain  the  cover  of  the  woods.  To  allow  them  this 
advantage  would  be  to  expose  themselves  to  a  fire  they 
could  not  return,  and  with  only  an  instant's  delay  the 
order  was  given  to  attack. 

The  tocsin  of  war  had  now  sounded.  The  Indians  were 
well  armed  and  ready  for  a  fight,  and  the  white  men  were 
determined,  if  fight  they  must,  to  conquer.  When  Lame- 
rick's  company  heard  the  firing  they  were  still  at  the 
fords,  some  distance  away.  Leaving  a  minority  of  his 
men  to  guard  the  crossing  of  the  river,  Lamerick  rode  up 
the  valley  to  warn  the  settlers,  going  first  to  the  house  of 
Dr.  Ambrose,  which  he  feared  would  be  attacked. 

The  battle  was  of  short  duration.  The  Indians  made  a 
charge  with  the  design  of  liberating  Steele's  prisoners, 
who  ran  towards  the  river.  One  was  shot  before  he  reached 
the  river,  and  the  other  as  he  climbed  up  the  opposite 
bank.  Sam  then  sent  a  detachment  of  his  warriors  to  the 
south  side  to  cut  off  Steele ;  but  they  were  surprised  by 
one  from  the  volunteers,  and  several  shot  as  they  sprang 
into  the  water,  the  reports  varying  from  four  to  sixteen, 
according  to  the  motive  of  the  narrator,  as  well  as  his 
greater  or  less  knowledge  of  events.  Only  one  white  man 
was  wounded,  and  he  slightly.  In  the  fighting  Skinner 
had  taken  no  part,  but  had  retired  to  his  residence^  which 
he  proceeded  to  fortify.  This  skirmish  occurred  July 

News  was  received  in  the  evening  that  during  the  coun 
cil  a  party  of  Sam's  people  had  gone  to  a  bar  down  the 
river  and  murdered  a  small  company  of  miners.  Lame- 
rick  at  once  prepared  to  cross  the  river  and  take  up  a 
position  in  the  pass  between  Table  Rock  and  the  river, 
while  Steele  moved  further  up  to  turn  the  Indians  back 
on  Larnerick's  force  in  the  morning.  The  movement  was 
entirely  successful,  the  Indians  being  surrounded,  and  the 
chief  compelled  to  sue  for  peace,  offering  to  accept  the 


terms  proposed  the  day  before,  namely,  to  surrender  the 

Agent  Skinner  was  notified,  and  a  council  arranged  for 
the  following  day.  In  the  conference  it  was  shown  that 
Scarface  had  not  been  with  Sam,  but  that  the  person  mis 
taken  for  him  was  Sullix  of  Tipso's  band,  who  also  had  a 
countenance  made  hideous  with  scars,  and  that  the  real 
Scarface  was  hiding  in  the  Salmon-river  mountains.  He 
was  ultimately  arrested  and  hanged  at  Yreka.10  As  for 
Sullix,  he  had  received  a  severe  wound  in  the  fight  of  the 
nineteenth,  and  was  now  more  ugly  than  before. 

The  treaty  which  Skinner  ultimately  was  able  to  make 
with  Sam  and  his  people,  required  the  Rogue-rivers, 
among  other  things,  to  hold  no  communication  with  the 
Shastas.  It  is  doubtful  if  this  part  of  the  treaty  was  very 
strictly  kept,  but  to  keep  it  in  part  tended  to  the  preven 
tion  of  mischief.  An  occasional  present  of  a  fat  ox  also 
contributed  to  the  general  peace  of  the  community,  and 
was  easier  for  the  agent  than  treaty  making  at  the  muzzle 
of  a  gun.  The  number  of  murders  committed  b}T  In 
dians  of  the  Rogue-river  bands  in  1852  were  only  about 
half  those  of  the  previous  year,  say  eighteen  that  were 
certainly  known,  and  a  few  others  suspected. 

In  all  the  councils  with  the  Indians  they  had  been  told 
that  the  United  States  government  would  ratify  the  treaties 
made,  and  pay  for  their  lands  in  property,  instruction,  pro 
tection,  and  money.  What  was  then  the  mortification  and 
anxiety  of  these  servants  of  the  people  when  the  superin 
tendent  of  Indian  affairs,  soon  after  the  treaty  with  the 
Rogue-rivers,  received  notice  that  all  the  treaties  nego 
tiated  in  Oregon  had  been  ordered  to  lie  upon  the  table  in 
the  senate,  and  was  instructed  to  enter  into  no  more,  ex 
cept  such  as  were  imperatively  required  to  preserve  peace. 
The  government  wanted  time  to  define  its  policy.  Dart, 
in  December,  sent  in  his  resignation  to  take  effect  the  fol 
lowing  June. 

10  The  expenses  of  Steele's  expedition  were  two  thousand  two  hundred  dollars, 
which  amount  was  borne  by  the  party,  and  never  reimbursed. 


Early  in  1852,  Lane,  as  delegate  to  congress,  was  doing- 
all  that  he  could  to  secure  military  protection  for  the  im 
migration  to  Oregon.  Pie  was  met  with  the  reply  that  his 
predecessor,  Thurston,  had  declared  the  mounted  rifle 
regiment  unnecessary;  and  had  combated  the  idea  with 
statements  and  arguments  founded  upon  the  changed  con 
dition  of  the  country,  but  especially  upon  the  helplessness 
of  immigrants  hundreds  of  miles  from  any  military  post, 
and  burdened  with  the  care  of  families  and  property. 
His  eloquence  was  strengthened  by  the  citation  of  the 
outrages  of  1851  on  the  Snake  river  plains. 

The  immigration  of  1852  by  this  route  was  very  large 
and  well  equipped,  and  perhaps  for  this  reason  was 
suffered  to  pass  with  less  bloodshed  than  might  have  been 
anticipated,  though  there  was  much  annoyance  from  pil- 
ferings,  and  horse  stealing.  But  the  immigration  by  the 
southern  route  was  less  favored.  This  road  ran  through 
the  lake  country,  where,  in  1843,  Fremont's  camp  was 
attacked,  and  where  Captain  W.  H.  Warner  in  1849  was 
murdered  while  surveying  for  a  Pacific  railroad.  Parties 
traveling  through  this  region  were  compelled  to  exercise 
extreme  care,  particularly  at  a  pass  now  known  as  Bloody 
Point,  where  the  road  ran  between  an  overhanging  cliff 
and  the  waters  of  Tule  lake.  The  immigration  of  1851 
had  been  attacked  at  this  place,  but  from  the  fact  that 
these  Indians  had  not  yet  learned  to  expect  an  annual 
transit  of  white  people  through  their  country,  they  were 
not  prepared  for  the  work  of  robbery  and  murder  which 
was  accomplished  in  1852,  when  between  sixty  and  one 
hundred  men,  women,  and  children  died  at  their  hands, 
and  a  large  amount  of  property  was  stolen  or  destroyed. 

It  will  be  remembered  that  Ben  Wright  left  Steele's 
party  en  route  to  Jacksonville  to  go  to  the  Klamath,  pre 
sumably  to  Yreka.  On  arriving  there  he  met  a  party  of 
sixty  male  immigrants,  the  advance  of  the  larger  number 
on  the  road,  who  reported  that  they  had  not  been  molested, 
but  that  there  were  many  companies  on  the  road,  some  of 


them  with  families,  and  that  the  Indians  were  burning 
signal  fires  on  the  mountains,  which  boded  no  good  to 

On  this  report,  Charles  McDermit  of  Yreka  raised  a 
company  of  between  thirty  and  forty  volunteers,  to  meet 
and  escort  immigrant  parties  over  the  most  dangerous 
portion  of  the  road  through  the  Modoc  country.  At  Tule 
lake  the  volunteers  met  another  company  of  male  immi 
grants,  going  to  Yreka  and  with  them  sent  back  two  men, 
named  Smith  and  Toland,  to  act  as  guides  and  guards. 
This  party  was  attacked,  and  Smith  and  Toland  wounded, 
but  the  discharge  of  a  rifle  happening  to  take  off  the  top 
of  an  Indian's  head,  so  excited  the  savages  for  a  few 
moments  that  the  white  men  made  their  escape. 

The  next  party  to  reach  the  Tule  lake  portion  of  the 
road  was  led  by  J.  C.  Tolman,  who  has  since  been  a  candi 
date  for  governor  of  Oregon.  It  consisted  of  about  twenty 
poorly  armed  men,  five  of  them  with  families,  and  ten 
wagons.  They  found  McDermit's  company  on  the  west 
shore  of  Goose  lake,  and  were  warned  of  the  danger  ahead, 
two  of  the  volunteers  accompanying  them  as  guides.  On 
coming  to  the  high  hill  one  mile  east  of  the  south  end  of 
Tule  lake  on  the  nineteenth  of  August,  no  Indians  being 
in  sight,  the  guides,  having  in  mind  James  Bridger's 
caution,  "  When  there  are  no  Indians  in  sight,  then  look 
out,"  decided  to  avoid  a  probable  ambush  by  taking  a 
northerly  course  across  a  sagebrush  flat.  The  women  and 
children  were  placed  in  the  wagons,  and  the  covers  fast 
ened  down  to  hide  them  from  view,  while  the  few  fire 
arms  were  made  ready  for  use. 

In  this  manner  the  company  had  nearly  reached  the 
open  valley  when  the  yells  of  Indians  in  pursuit  discov 
ered  to  them  that  spies  had  betrayed  them  to  those  in 
concealment.  By  making  all  the  speed  possible,  open 
ground  was  reached  just  as  a  shower  of  arrows  whizzed 
through  the  air;  but  on  seeing  several  rifles  leveled  upon 
them,  the  Modocs  were  intimidated  and  withdrew  to  the 


shelter  of  the  rocks,  appearing  again  on  a  high  ridge,  ges 
ticulating  and  uttering  demoniacal  cries  expressive  of 
their  rage  and  disappointment. 

Seeing  that  they  were  working  themselves  up  to  a  fight 
ing  pitch,  and  would  probably  attack  at  some  other  point, 
it  was  thought  best  to  return  and  hold  a  talk.  Acting  on 
this  plan,  the  wagons  were  corraled,  and  Tolman  with  a 
half  a  dozen  others,  making  a  great  show  of  arms,  went 
back  to  within  speaking  distance,  and  challenged  them 
through  one  of  the  guides  who  could  speak  the  jargon,  to 
come  and  fight.  Like  all  people  who  practice  treachery 
they  feared  it,  and  not  knowing  what  might  be  inside  the 
wagon  covers  declined;  but  the  head  chief  proposed  to 
meet  the  interpreter  unarmed  and  talk  with  him. 

While  the  interview  was  progressing  at  a  safe  distance 
apart  of  the  interlocutors,  it  was  observed  by  Mr.  Tolman 
that  every  now  and  then  a  Modoc  had  tied  his  bow  to  his 
toe,  secreted  his  arrows,  and  pretending  to  be  disarmed, 
joined  the  chief.  The  interpreter,  on  being  warned,  ordered 
the  Indians  sent  back,  and  the  chief  seeing  no  opportunity 
for  obtaining  an  advantage,  agreed  to  return  whence  he 
came,  and  leave  the  party  to  pursue  its  way  unmolested. 
It  had  not  proceeded  far,  however,  before  it  discovered  a 
reserve  of  Indians  mounted,  who  had  been  placed  where 
they  could  intercept  any  persons  escaping  from  the  narrow 
pass  along  Tule  lake.  Finding  themselves  outwitted,  they 
also  retired,  hoping  for  better  luck  next  time.  Camp  was 
made  that  night  fifteen  miles  from  Tule  lake,  and  a  severe 
cold  rainstorm  prevented  a  night  attack,  which,  being 
reserved  till  the  morning,  was  averted  by  a  very  early 
start  of  the  train. 

On  the  twenty-third  of  August,  at  nine  o'clock  in  the 
evening,  Tolman's  camp  was  visited  by  a  man  on  a  poor 
and  jaded  horse,  whose  condition  excited  the  utmost  pity 
in  all  hearts.  He  had  to  be  lifted  from  his  horse  and  fed 
and  nursed  back  to  life  before  he  could  give  any  account 
of  himself.  It  then  appeared  that  he  belonged  to  a  party 


of  eight  men  who  had  been  surprised  by  the  Modocs,  and 
all  killed  except  himself.  His  horse  being  shot,  he  sprang 
upon  another,  which  ran  with  him,  carrying  him  until  it 
fell  exhausted,  several  miles  up  the  valley  of  Lost  river. 
From  here  the  man,  whose  mind  was  evidently  unsettled 
by  the  shock  he  had  received,  wandered  to  Klamath  lake, 
but  seeing  an  Indian  turned  back,  and  the  next  day  dis 
covered  his  horse  feeding,  which  he  remounted  and  rode, 
without  getting  down,  for  three  days,  and  until  he  came 
to  Tolman's  camp.  He  had  eaten  nothing,  but  had  tied 
up  a  handful  of  rosebuds  in  his  handkerchief,  as  he  "  ex 
pected  to  be  out  all  winter,  and  should  need  them."  This 
demented  creature  was  taken  by  the  company  to  Yreka, 
where  his  story,  in  connection  with  the  report  of  Tolman 
and  the  guides,  of  the  dangers  of  the  Modoc  country,  led 
to  the  organization  of  a  second  company  of  volunteers. 

A  meeting  was  called  on  the  evening  of  the  twenty- 
fourth  of  August,  at  which  means  to  put  the  men  in  the 
field  was  subscribed  by  the  citizens  and  miners,  and  Ben 
Wright  was  chosen  captain.  He  was  at  that  time  mining 
on  Cotton  wood  creek,  twenty  miles  distant,  but  by  daylight 
was  in  Yreka,  surrounded  by  men  eager  alike  to  prevent 
carnage,  or  to  avenge  it  by  spending  more  blood.  A 
peculiar  enthusiasm  was  imparted  to  volunteering  by  the 
fact  that  Tolman's  train  was  the  first  to  arrive  with  women 
and  children,  the  homeless  miners  having  their  minds 
harrowed  by  the  suggestion  of  what  might  have  been  the 
fate  of  these  but  for  the  warning  and  guidance  given  by 
McDermit's  company,  and  what  might,  even  after  all, 
befall  others  on  some  part  of  the  route. 

Three  days  were  consumed  in  getting  together  the  equip 
ment  of  men  and  horses,  with  provision  wagons,  and  every 
thing  necessary;  and  on  the  sixth  day  after  the  meeting  in 
Yreka,  Wright  reached  Tule  lake  just  in  time  to  rescue  a 
train  that  was  surrounded  and  fighting  the  Modocs,  two 
men  being  wounded.  The  sight  of  Wright's  company 
advancing  sent  the  savages  into  places  of  concealment 


among  the  tules,  and  on  an  island  in  the  lake,  and  equally 
alarmed  the  immigrants,  who  mistook  them  for  mounted 
Indians,  and  prepared  for  a  yet  more  desperate  encounter. 
But  their  fears  were  changed  to  joy  when  Wright,  discov 
ering  their  alarm,  rode  forward  alone.  This  train  was 
escorted  beyond  danger,  and  the  company  returned  to 
learn  what  had  taken  place  in  the  Modoc  country. 

Wright  found  the  mutilated  bodies  of  the  eight  men 
before  mentioned,  with  those  of  three  of  his  acquaintances, 
members  of  McDermit's  company,  who  had  been  sent  to 
guide  trains,  and  conclusive  evidences  that  no  party  or 
train  had  escaped  destruction  which  had  entered  the  fatal 
pass  of  Bloody  Point  since  the  nineteenth. 

Filled  with  ra^e  and  grief,  Wright  and  his  men  made 
haste  to  attack  the  Indians  in  their  stronghold.  To  do 
this  they  had  to  wade  in  water  among  the  tules  that  was 
up  to  their  armpits,  and  fight  the  Modocs  concealed  in  am 
buscades  constructed  of  tules,  having  portholes.  Suph  was 
the  vigor  of  their  charge,  however,  that  the  ambuscades 
were  quickly  depopulated,  and  thirty  or  more  Modocs 
killed  while  escaping  to  the  rocky  island  in  the  lake. 

After  this  battle,  Wright  proceeded  east  to  Clear  lake, 
where  he  met  a  large  party  of  immigrants  and  planned  a 
stratagem  to  draw  the  Indians  out  of  their  strong  position 
on  the  island.  He  unloaded  several  ox  wagons,  filled  them 
with  armed  men,  a  few  of  whom  were  clothed  in  women's 
apparel,  tied  down  the  wagon  covers  and  instructed  the 
men  to  proceed  in  the  usual  careless  and  loitering  way  of 
true  immigrants  along  the  dangerous  pass.  But  the  In 
dians  either  had  out  spies  who  reported  the  trick,  or  were 
too  severely  punished  to  feel  like  attacking  white  men, 
and  remained  in  their  fastnesses. 

Wright  then  went  to  Yreka  and  had  boats  built  with 
which  to  reach  the  island,  spending  the  time  of  waiting  in 
patroling  the  road  through  the  Modoc  country.  In  the 
meantime,  accounts  of  the  massacres  had  reached  Jackson 
ville,  and  another  company,  commanded  by  John  E.  Ross 


of  that  place,  proceeded  to  the  Modoc  country,  where  it  re 
mained  on  the  road  until  the  season  of  travel  was  past. 
On  the  arrival  of  Ross,  Wright  returned  to  Yreka  for  sup 
plies,  and  to  bring  out  his  boats.  'But  he  was  unable  to 
reach  the  Indians,  who  retreated  to  the  lava  beds,  since 
made  famous  by  the  Modoc  war,  inaccessible  then,  as  now, 
to  white  men. 

That  which  Wright  did  find  were  the  proofs  that  many, 
very  many,  persons,  including  women  and  children,  had 
been  cruelly  tortured  and  butchered.  Here  again  the 
men  of  his  company,  some  of  whom  had  families  two  or 
three  thousand  miles  away,  burst  forth  into  tears  of  rage 
at  the  sight  of  women's  dresses  and  babies'  socks  among 
the  property  plundered  from  the  owners.  Where,  now, 
were  the  men  and  women  who  had  toiled  over  these  thou 
sands  of  miles  to  meet  their  fate  at  this  place?  Where 
the  prattling  babes  whose  innocent  feet  fitted  the  tiny 
socks?  Even  their  bones  were  undiscoverable,  but  the 
proofs  that  they  had  lived  and  died  were  heaped  up  in 
the  wickiups  of  their  cruel  slayers. 

The  next  attempt  of  Wright,  who  seems  to  have  remained 
behind  the  other  companies,  was  to  make  a  treaty  with 
the  Modocs.  However  much  he  may  have  desired  to  have 
seen  them  exterminated,  or  even  to  have  helped  extermi 
nate  them,  the  safety  of  all  who  passed  through  their 
country  demanded  that  peace  should  be  secured.  From 
two  captured, —  one  of  whom  was  wrapped  in  a  cradle 
quilt, —  he  learned  that  two  white  women  were  captives 
among  the  Modocs,  and  for  this  reason  also  he  felt  it 
necessary  to  enter  into  negotiations  with  them. 

Wright,  like  Lane,  had  for  a  servant  an  Indian  boy, 
who  was  part  Modoc,  and  spoke  their  language.  Using 
this  boy  as  an  ambassador,  he  finally  persuaded  four  of 
the  head  men  to  visit  his  camp,  with  the  purpose  of  dis 
cussing  the  terms  of  a  treaty,  his  proposition  being  that 
if  they  would  bring  in  the  two  captives,  and  the  stock 
taken  from  the  immigrants,  he  would  leave  their  country 


and  trouble  them  no  more;  or,  if  they  wished,  he  would 
trade  with  them  for  their  furs  and  feathers.  To  this  the 
chiefs  gave  their  assent,  and  while  one  was  sent  to  fetch 
the  women  and  the  property,  the  other  three  were  detained 
as  hostages.  Wright's  company  had  by  this  time  dwindled 
to  eighteen  men.  When  the  chief  returned  to  his  camp, 
instead  of  bringing  with  him  the  captive  women  and  the 
stolen  stock,  he  brought  only  a  few  broken  down  horses 
and  a  shotgun ;  but  he  was  accompanied  by  forty-five  war 
riors.  When  remonstrated  with  for  this  violation  of  his 
pledge,  he  replied  that  Wright  had  required  three  hos 
tages,  and  now,  his  men  greatly  outnumbering  Wright's  he 
should  hold  him  and  his  company  as  hostages  for  the  good 
conduct  of  the  white  people.  The  place  where  Wright  was 
encamped  was  near  the  stone  ford  of  Lost  river,  on  the 
north  side,  the  Modocs  encamping  on  the  same  side.  The 
situation  was  critical,  it  being  plain  that  a  net  was  spread 
for  him  which  would  surely  close  about  him  unless  he  met 
the  danger  with  a  desperate  measure.  The  order  issued 
for  the  night  was  for  six  men  at  midnight  to  silently  cross 
the  ford, —  a  natural  bridge  at  this  season  of  the  year, — 
and  hide  themselves  in  the  artemisia  which  covered  the 
plain.  At  the  firing  of  a  signal  gun  in  the  dawning  they 
were  to  attack  simultaneously  the  Indians  who  lay  between 
them.  The  order  was  scrupulously  obeyed,  the  men  rush 
ing  upon  the  surprised  Indians  at  the  crack  of  Wright's 
gun,  finishing  the  fight  with  their  pistols.  In  twenty 
minutes  the  battle  was  over,  and  forty  Indians  lay  slain. 
Wright  had  four  men  wounded,  who  were  carried  on  litters 
made  of  guns  lashed  together  fifteen  miles,  and  an  express 
sent  to  Yreka  for  aid.  On  the  return  of  the  company  to 
that  place — thin,  sun-browned,  and  nearly  naked  —  they 
were  received  with  bonfires  and  banquets.  The  only  re 
gret  felt  was  that  the  two  captive  women  were  left  to  the 
fiendish  cruelty  which  no  one  doubted  would  end  their 
lives  before  they  could  be  rescued.  As  a  matter  of  fact, 
they  never  were  seen  alive,  but  years  after  their  bleaching 



bones  were  pointed  out  by  the  Indians  to  curious  investi 
gators  of  Indian  history.  Wright  seems  to  have  had  ene 
mies  or  rivals  who  strove  to  dim  his  popularity  by  a  story 
of  poisoning  the  Indians  invited  to  a  council.  The  tale 
had  little  to  recommend  it  to  belief  had  it  never  been  de 
nied  by  the  most  prominent  citizens  of  Yreka,  who  were 
members  of  his  company.  It  was  seized  upon  by  the  reg 
ular  army  and  reported  by  General  Wool  as  a  fact,  the 
stigma  of  which  is  hardly  yet  removed  from  his  name. 
Yet  the  story  disproves  itself,  for  he  is  represented  as  pur 
chasing  the  strychnine  for  a  feast  to  the  Indians  at  the 
time  he  was  in  Yreka  with  the  purpose  of  procuring  boats 
to  pursue  them  into  their  hiding  places  with  arms.  It  was 
long  after  the  failure  of  this  attempt  that  a  council  was  pro 
posed  with  a  specific  purpose  as  above  related,  and  although 
beef  was  given  the  Indians,  as  is  the  custom  of  treaty  mak 
ers,  it  was  the  same  as  that  eaten  by  the  company,  if  we 
may  trust  the  word  of  honorable  men  who  were  partakers.11 

Says  Tolman,  who  was  well  informed  concerning  these 
events,  "  If  the  Modocs  had  not  been  confident  of  getting 
the  advantage,  they  would  never  have  left  their  cave." 
He  further  says  that  Wright's  boy  had  betrayed  him,  and 
the  Modocs  had  come  prepared  to  fight,  and  that  had  he 
wavered  for  a  moment  his  own  life  and  that  of  all  his 
company  would  have  paid  for  his  indecision. 

Oregon  had  been  organized  into  a  territory  of  the  United 
States  for  over  four  years,  and  was  still  fighting  her  own 
battles.  But  in  September  of  this  year  there  arrived  at 
Vancouver  the  skeleton  of  the  fourth  United  States  infantry, 
consisting  of  two  hundred  and  sixty-eight  men,  rank  and 
file,  under  Lieutenant-Colonel  Bonneville.  The  regiment 
had  been  decimated  by  sickness  on  the  Isthmus,  and  was 
still  unfit  for  service  had  not  the  season  been  too  late  to  do 
more  than  arrange  their  quarters  for  the  winter.  The  fol 
lowing  chapter  will  show  the  value  of  their  arms. 

11  Says  E.  P.  Jenner  in  the  Yreka  Journal:  I  deny  emphatically  that  any  were 
killed  in  any  other  way  than  by  powder  and  lead,  which  John  C.  Burgess,  John  S. 
Hallick,  and  William  Penning,  old  members  of  Wright's  company,  now  in  Siskiyou, 
will  testify  to. 





THERE  could  hardly  have  been  any  reliance  placed  upon 
the  durability  of  the  treaty  made  with  chief  Sam.  Skinner 
was  unable  to  perform  what  was  expected  of  him  as  a  rep 
resentative  of  the  government,  not  being  supplied  with  tlie 
means;  and  Sam  was  but  an  unwilling  party  to  it  from 
the  beginning.  So  far  as  the  chief  was  individually  con 
cerned,  however,  he,  for  the  greater  part  of  a  year,  observed 
the  conditions  imposed  upon  him  by  the  treaty. 

But  a  sub-chief,  called  Taylor,  who  had  his  range  in  the 
Grave  creek  country,  murdered  a  party  of  seven  men, 
during  a  severe  storm  in  the  hills,  and  reported  them 
drowned.  Other  depredations  were  traced  to  him,  and  a 
rumor  became  current  that  the  Rogue-rivers  held  white 
women  captive  at  Table  Rock.  This  rumor  probably 
grew  out  of  the  story,  already  referred  to,  that  the  Modocs 
held  captive  two  white  girls  for  some  time,  whom  they 
finally  tortured  to  death.  The  imagination  of  the  public, 
excited  by  the  atrocities  in  the  Modoc  country,  was  sensitive 
to  any  suggestion  of  Indian  malevolence,  and  the  desire 
for  vengeance  was  ill  suppressed,  ready  to  break  out  into 
action  at  any  moment.  Finally,  about  the  first  of  June,  a 



party  from  Jacksonville  arrested  Taylor,  with  three  others, 
and  hanged  them ;  after  which  they  proceeded  to  Table 
Rock,  and  not  finding  the  captive  women,  attacked  a 
village,  killing  six  Indians. 

There  was  at  this  time  neither  Indian  agent  nor  military 
officer  in  Rogue-river  valley  to  prevent  the  outrages  of  one 
race  upon  the  other.  Dart  had  been  superseded  in  the 
superintendency  by  Joel  Palmer,  who  had  not  yet  supplied 
the  place  of  agent  Skinner,  resigned.  The  nearest  troops 
were  at  Fort  Orford  on  the  coast  and  Fort  Jones  in  Scott 
valley.  A  new  administration  had  come  in,  Lane  having 
returned  to  Oregon  with  the  commission  of  governor,  only 
to  be  reflected  delegate,  leaving  the  secretary,  George  L. 
Curry,  acting  governor,  and  Lane  at  liberty  to  reside,  as 
he  preferred  to  do  when  in  Oregon,  at  Roseburg  in  the 
Umpqua  valley. 

This  was  the  condition  of  affairs  when,  early  in  August, 
the  settlements  in  Rogue-river  valley  were  suddenly  at 
tacked.  On  the  fourth,  Richard  Edwards  was  killed  at  his 
home  on  Stuart's  creek;  on  the  fifth,  Thomas  J.  Wills  and 
Rhodes  Noland  were  killed,  and  Burrill  F.  Griffin  and  one 
Davis  wounded.  Hastily  formed  volunteer  companies  pa 
trolled  the  roads  and  warned  settlers,  who  gathered  their 
families  into  a  few  fortified  houses,  and  setting  over  them 
a  guard,  joined  the  volunteers. 

On  the  seventh  of  August  two  Shasta  Indians  were  cap 
tured,  one  on  Applegate  creek  and  the  other  on  Jackson 
creek.  Both  were  in  war  paint,  and  on  investigation  were 
proved  guilty  of  the  murder  of  Wills  and  Noland,  for 
which  they  were  hung  at  Jacksonville.  Not  satisfied  with 
this  act  of  justice,  an  Indian  lad  who  had  nothing  what 
ever  to  do  with  the  murders,  was  seized  and  hung  by  the 
infuriated  miners.  So  great  was  the  excitement  that  it 
was  dangerous  for  a  man  to  suggest  mercy. 

Acts  of  this  nature  were  not  calculated  to  lessen  hostili 
ties  on  the  other  side,  and  the  torch  was  applied  to  the 
abandoned  houses  of  the  settlers.  Ten  homes  in  as  many 


miles  were  thus  laid  waste.  On  the  day  of  the  hanging, 
Isaac  Hill  and  a  party  of  volunteers  from  Ashland  at 
tacked  some  roving  Indians  a  few  miles  from  that  place, 
killing  six.  Ten  days  later  the  Indians  attacked  an  im 
migrant  camp  at  Ashland,  and  killed  Hugh  Smith  and 
John  Gibbs,  wounding  M.  B.  Morris,  William  Hodgkins, 
A.  G.  Lordyce,  and  Brice  Whitmore.  On  the  fourteenth, 
Dr.  William  R.  Rose  and  John  R.  Hardin,  members  of  a 
volunteer  organization,  while  patrolling  the  line  of  travel 
towards  the  north,  with  W.  G.  T'Vault,  S.  S.  Wall,  and 
David  Birdseye.  were  shot  at  from  ambush,  Rose  killed, 
and  Hardin  mortally  wounded.  Says  L.  J.  C.  Duncan: 
"  The  outraged  populace  began  to  slaughter  right  and  left," 
after  these  events. 

Immediately  after  the  outbreak,  and  while  these  events 
were  in  progress,  a  petition  was  addressed  to  Captain  Alden, 
in  command  of  Fort  Jones,  asking  for  arms  and  ammuni 
tion,  who  at  once  responded  by  coming  in  person  with 
about  a  dozen  men.  On  the  fifteenth,  a  request  was  sent 
to  Governor  Curry  at  Salem,  to  make  a  requisition  on  Col 
onel  Bonneville  at  Vancouver,  for  a  howitzer,  rifles,  and 
ammunition,  which  were  immediately  forwarded  in  charge 
of  Lieutenant  Kautz  and  six  artillerymen,  escorted  by  forty 
volunteers  under  J.  W.  Nesmith,  captain,  and  officered  by 
L.  F.  Grover,  first  lieutenant;  W.  K.  Beale,  second  lieuten 
ant;  J.  D.  McCurdy,  surgeon;  and  J.  M.  Crooks,  orderly 

Over  two  hundred  volunteers  were  enrolled  in  Rogue- 
river  valley.  John  F.  Miller  was  elected  captain  of  the 
first  company;  B.  B.  Griffin,  first  lieutenant;  Abel  George, 
second  lieutenant;  and  Clay  Westfelt,  orderly  sergeant. 
This  company  numbered  one  hundred  and  fifteen  men. 
Two  other  companies,  under  Captains  John  K.  Lamerick 
and  T.  T.  Tierney,  were  organized  about  the  same  time, 
while  from  Yreka  came  eighty  fighting  men  under  Cap 
tains  Goodall  and  Rhodes.  These  all  reported  to  Captain 
Alden,  who  assumed  the  command.  No  provision  had 


been  made  for  the  subsistence  of  so  many  men,  and  Alden 
appointed  George  Dart,  Edward  Shell,  L.  A.  Loomis.  and 
Eichard  Dugan  a  military  commission  to  constitute  a  gen 
eral  department  of  supply;  and  learning  that  the  Indians 
were  in  force  near  Table  Rock,  planned  an  attack  for  the 
night  of  the  eleventh.  But  the  volunteers  learning  that 
the  Indians  were  in  the  valley  killing  and  burning,  rushed 
away  to  the  defense  of  their  homes  without  waiting  for 
orders,  and  for  several  days  were  scouring  the  country, 
divided  into  small  bands,  as  before  mentioned.  Before 
they  came  together  again,  Sam  offered  battle,  which  Alden 
was  compelled  to  decline.  But  having  recovered  his  force 
he  made  a  movement  on  the  fifteenth  to  dislodge  the  In 
dians  from  their  supposed  hiding  place  in  a  canon  five 
miles  north  of  Table  Rock,  from  which,  however,  they  had 
departed  before  his  arrival,  firing  the  woods  behind  them 
to  obliterate  their  trial. 

It  was  not  until  the  seventeenth  that  Lieutenant  Ehr  of 
the  Yreka  company,  with  a  detachment  of  twenty-five 
men,  discovered  the  enemy's  camp  on  Evans'  creek,  fifteen 
miles  from  Table  Rock.  Knowing  that  the  main  force 
had  returned  to  Camp  Stuart  for  supplies,  Ely  fell  back  to 
an  open  piece  of  ground  crossed  by  creeks,  whose  banks 
were  lined  with  thickets  of  willow,  where  he  halted  and 
sent  a  courier  for  reinforcements.  But  Sam,  seeing  his 
opportunity,  advanced  his  warriors  through  the  creek 
channels  under  cover  of  the  wallows,  and  getting  within 
range,  killed  two  men  at  the  first  fire.  The  company 
retreated  to  a  pine  ridge  a  quarter  of  a  mile  distant,  but 
the  Indians  soon  flanked  and  surrounded  them,  and  the 
fight  lasted  three  and  a  half  hours,  during  which  four 
more  men  were  killed  and  four  wounded.  At  the  end  of 
this  time  Captain  Goodall,  with  the  remainder  of  the 
Yreka  company,  came  up,  and  the  Indians  retreated. 
The  killed  in  this  skirmish  were  J.  Shaw,  Frank  Perry, 
F.  Keath,  A.  Douglas,  A.  C.  Colburn,  and  L.  Locktirg. 
The  wounded  were  Lieutenant  Ely,  John  Albin,  James 
Carroll,  and  Z.  Shultz. 


Lane  was  at  Roseburg  when  the  news  of  the  outbreak 
reached  him,  and  set  out  at  once  for  Rogue  river,  accom 
panied  by  Pleasant  Armstrong  of  Yamhill  county,  and 
James  Cluggage,  who  had  been  to  the  Umpqua  valley  in 
the  vain  endeavor  to  enlist  the  Klickitats  against  the 
Rogue-river  Indians,  and  eleven  other  men.  Immediately 
on  Lane's  arrival,  Alden  tendered  him  the  command, 
which  he  accepted  on  the  twenty-first,  and  on  the  twenty- 
second  assumed  his  office  in  due  form.  An  aggressive 
movement  was  decided  upon.  W.  G.  T' Vault  was  ap 
pointed  his  aide,  and  C.  Lewis,  a  captain  of  volunteers, 
his  assistant  adjutant-general,  but  Lewis  falling  ill,  L.  F. 
Mosher  took  his  place. 

The  available  forces  were  divided  into  two  battalions, 
one  consisting  of  the  companies  of  Captains  Goodall  and 
Rhodes  under  Colonel  Alden,  with  Lane  at  their  head,  to 
proceed  up  the  river  to  where  Ely  had  met  with  defeat, 
there  to  find  the  enemy's  trail,  which  was  known  led  in 
the  direction  of  Evans'  creek.  The  other  battalion,  under 
John  E.  Ross,  was  directed  to  proceed  to  the  mouth  of 
Evans'  creek,  and  thence  up  that  stream  to  a  junction 
with  Alden,  to  prevent  the  Indians  from  being  driven 
back  on  the  settlements. 

After  a  day's  travel,  made  exhausting  by  smoke  from 
the  burning  forest,  Alden's  command  came  upon  the  trail 
of  the  enemy  and  encamped.  On  the  following  day,  after 
another  fatiguing  march,  he  again  encamped,  and  had 
hardly  taken  up  the  line  of  march  on  the  twenty -fourth, 
when  Lane,  who  was  in  advance,  heard  the  discharge  of  a 
rifle  and  distinguished  voices.  Waiting  for  the  companies 
to  come  up,  he  halted  them,  and  outlined  his  plan  of  at 
tack,  which  was  that  Alden,  with  Goodall's  company, 
should  quietly  proceed  on  foot  along  the  trail  and  attack 
the  Indians  in  front,  while  a  detachment  of  ten  picked 
men  from  Rhodes'  command,  under  Lieutenant  Charles 
Blair,  was  to  take  a  ridge  to  the  left  to  turn  the  enemy's 
flank.  Lane  would  himself  wait  for  the  rear  guard  to 
come  up,  and  lead  them  into  action. 


Alden  proceeded  as  directed  and  with  so  little  noise  that 
the  crack  of  his  rifles  was  the  first  intimation  the  Indians 
had  of  the  approach  of  an  enemy.  Although  surprised, 
they  made  a  vigorous  resistance  from  behind  fortifications 
of  logs,  being  well  supplied  with  arms  and  ammunition. 
Their  camp  being  surrounded  by  dense  thickets,  it  was 
difficult  and  dangerous  to  charge  them,  and  from  this 
cause  and  the  nature  of  the  ground  it  was  impossible  for 
the  flanking  party  to  turn  their  left  as  designed,  but  it 
engaged  them  on  the  right.  After  the  first  fire  the  volun 
teers  took  cover  behind  trees  and  fought  in  true  Indian 
style,  the  battle  becoming  general. 

When  Lane  arrived  on  the  ground  he  found  Colonel 
Alden  dangerously  wounded,  having  been  shot  down  early 
in  the  fight.  Leaving  him  to  the  care  of  his  men,1  Lane 
made  an  examination  of  the  ground  and  finding  the  In 
dians  securely  posted,  gave  the  order  to  charge,  himself 
leading  the  movement.  When  within  thirty  yards  of 
their  line,  he  was  struck  by  a  rifle  ball  in  his  right  arm 
near  the  shoulder.  Believing  the  shot  to  have  come  from 
the  flank,  he  ordered  the  line  extended  so  as  to  prevent  its 
being  turned  by  the  enemy,  and  the  men  to  again  take 
cover  behind  trees,  where  they  fought  with  cool  deter 
mination  for  several  hours. 

Finding  himself  growing  weak  from  loss  of  blood,  Lane 
had  retired  to  the  rear  to  have  his  wound  dressed.  The 
Indians,  meantime,  having  discovered  his*  identity,  called 
out  to  the  volunteers  that  they  were  tired  of  war,  and  de 
sired  to  talk  with  "  Jo  Lane."  On  Lane's  return  to  the 
front  he  held  a  conference  with  his  officers  on  the  subject 
of  holding  a  council  with  the  Indians.  It  was  evident 
they  were  well  armed,  and  held  a  position  nearly,  if  not 
quite,  impregnable.  There  were  two  opinions  advocated, 
one  that  the  Indians  really  desired  peace,  and  another 
that  they  were  seeking  an  advantage.  The  question  of 
allowing  the  Indians  an  opportunity  to  talk  was  put  to 

1  Alden  died  two  years  afterwards  from  the  effect  of  this  wound. 


vote,  every  man  having  a  voice  in  the  matter.  Less  than 
half  voted  for  a  talk,  the  others  remaining  silent.  He 
then  sent  Robert  B.  Metcalf  and  James  Bruce  into  the 
Indian  lines  to  get  an  expression  of  their  wishes,  when 
they  reiterated  their  desire  to  see  "Jo  Lane." 

On  entering  their  camp,  Lane  found  them  with  many 
wounded,  and  some  dead,  whom  they  were  burning.  Chief 
Jo,  with  his  brothers  Sam  and  Jim,  assured  Lane  that 
they  were  sick  of  war.  He  outlined  to  them  a  plan  of 
treaty  which  included  the  obligation  on  their  part  to  go 
upon  a  reservation,  and  they  agreed  to  it.  The  date  fixed 
for  the  treaty  council  was  early  in  September,  and  these 
affairs  being  arranged,  Lane  returned  to  the  place  of  dis 
mounting  in  the  morning,  where  the  wounded  were  being 
cared  for,  and  the  dead  buried. 

The  white  men  killed  in  this  battle  were  Pleasant 
Armstrong,2  John  Scarborough,  and  Isaac  Bradley.  The 
wounded  volunteers  were  Henry  Flasher,  Thomas  Hayes, 
and  Charles  C.  Abbott;  the  latter  dying  of  his  wounds 
September  second.  The  Indian  loss  was  eight  killed  and 
twenty  wounded. 

Ross'  battalion  arrived  too  late  to  participate  in  the 
battle  of  Evans'  creek,  on  account  of  which  disappoint 
ment  they  inclined  to  renew  it,  but  were  restrained  by 
Lane,  who  went  into  camp  within  four  hundred  yards  of 
the  enemy,  where  he  remained  for  two  days.  Impelled  by 
their  personal  regard  for  Lane,  who  had  always  been  able 
to  appear  to  them  if  not  as  a  friend,  at  least  as  a  magnan 
imous  enemy,  the  Indian  women  carried  water  to  the 
wounded,  and  the  Indian  men  helped  bear  them  on  litters 
to  camp.  Such  is  the  savage  nature,  one  moment  governed 
by  animal  rages,  and  in  the  next  exhibiting  fear,  timidity, 
and  even  tenderness. 

On  the  twenty-ninth,  the  Indian  and  volunteer  forces 
moved  down  into  the  valley,  each  keeping  strict  watch 

2  Armstrong's  remains,  it  is  said,  were  disinterred  and  cut  to  pieces.  He  was  a 
brother  of  the  author  of  Annstrong's  Oregon,  a  descriptive  work. 


upon  the  other.  The  ground  chosen  for  the  council  was 
on  the  south  side  of  Rogue  river,  the  Indians  making  their 
encampment  on  an  elevation  directly  opposite  the  cliffs  of 
Table  Rock,  and  Lane  in  the  valley  one  mile  distant,  on 
the  spot  where  Fort  Lane  was  soon  afterwards  established. 
Although,  according  to  the  armistice,  peace  should  have 
been  restored,  there  was  some  further  fighting  in  scattered 
localities  between  independent  volunteer  companies  and 
roving  bands  of  Indians.  Four  days  after  the  battle  of 
Evans'  creek,  a  collision  occurred  between  a  detachment  of 
Captain  Owens'  company,  under  Lieutenant  Thomas  Fraz- 
zell,  and  a  foraging  party  of  Rogue-rivers  at  Long's  ferry, 
about  ten  miles  below  the  mouth  of  the  creek,  in  which 
Frazzell  and  a  private  named  James  Mango  were  killed. 
After  this  Owens  induced  a  party  of  Indians  to  enter  his- 
camp  on  Grave  creek,  and  treacherously  shot  them;  at 
least  so  it  is  related  in  a  public  document.  Robert  L. 
Williams,  captain  of  a  volunteer  company,  was  also  re 
ported  to  have  slain  twelve  Indians  in  an  unfair  fight,  in 
which  he  lost  one  man,  Thomas  Phillips.3  Doubtless 
many  things  were  done  in  the  exasperation  of  public 
feeling,  caused  by  the  interruption  of  business  and  loss  of 
property  and  friends,  which,  under  any  other  circum 
stances,  would  have  seemed  impossible  to  the  actors. 
Martin  Angell,  a  highly  respected  citizen,  from  his  own 
door  shot  an  Indian  out  of  pure  hatred  of  the  race,  which 
seemed  to  him  only  incarnate  evil.  He  was,  long  after, 
shot  from  an  ambush  by  one  of  the  hated  race;  and  this 
was  Indian  war.  But  now  there  was  to  be  peace. 

The  time  between  the  battle  of  Evans'  creek  and  the 
fourth  of  September  was  spent  in  preparations  for  the 
treaty  council,  which  could  not  be  held  until  the  arrival 
of  Superintendent  Palmer.  In  the  interim,  there  arrived 
Captain  A.  J.  Smith,  first  United  States  dragoons,  from 
Fort  Orford,  with  his  troops;  Lieutenant  Kautz  of  the 

3  United  States  house  executive  documents,  99,  p.  4,  thirty-third  congress,  first 


artillery  with  the  howitzer;  and  J.  W.  Neswith  with  his 
company  of  volunteers.  The  latter  bore  a  commission 
from  acting  Governor  Curry,  giving  Lane  what  he  already 
had,  the  command  of  the  forces  in  the  field. 

By  that  spy  system  which  was  in  vogue  among  the 
natives,  keeping  them  informed  of  the  movements  of 
strangers  and  enemies,  the  approach  of  the  howitzer  be 
came  known  some  time  before  its  arrival,  and  created  a 
lively  apprehension.  They  described  it  as  a  hyas  (great) 
rifle,  which  took  a  hatful  of  powder  to  a  load,  and  could 
shoot  down  a  tree.  Their  fear  of  it  was  abject,  and  they 
begged  not  to  have  it  fired.  Who  shall  say  how  much 
influence  it  had  upon  the  treaty? 

On  the  fourth,  a  preliminary  council  was  held.  When 
agreeing  to  the  armistice,  Lane  had  exacted  a  hostage,  and 
had  been  given  a  son  of  chief  Jo;  for  the  white  men  were 
still  few  in  comparison  with  the  natives,  and  not  many 
had  any  confidence  in  their  professed  desire  for  peace. 

The  terms  of  the  preliminan7  council  were  nearly  iden 
tical  with  those  agreed  to  between  General  Canby  and  the 
Modocs  twenty  years  later,  and  the  outcome  might  have 
been  the  same  but  for  Lane's  precautions.  The  meeting 
place  was  a  mile  from  the  volunteer  camp  on  a  butte 
within  the  Indian  lines  on  Evans  creek.  The  white  per 
sons  present  were  General  Lane,  his  arm  in  a  sling,  the 
volunteer  captains,  Colonel  Ross,  and  interpreter  Metcalf. 
These  proceeded  on  foot  to  the  council,  meeting  at  the 
base  of  the  butte  an  armed  guard,  which  disarmed  them 
before  they  reached  the  place  prepared  for  the  conference. 
Captain  Miller,  however,  secreted  a  revolver,  of  which  act 
Lane  was  made  aware.  Arrived  at  the  council  lodge,  the 
white  men  were  received  with  a  sullen  etiquette  not  easily 
translated  into  cordiality.  They  were  assigned  their  places, 
and  the  chiefs  Jo,  Sam,  and  Jim  of  the  Rogue-river  tribes, 
with  Limpy  and  George  of  the  Applegate  creek  families, 
seated  inside  a  wall  of  armed  warriors.  Notwithstanding 
this  threatening  appearance,  the  Rogue-river  chiefs  made 


temperate  speeches  in  favor  of  peace.  But  Limpy  ad 
dressed  the  council  in  a  torrid  burst  of  savage  eloquence 
on  the  aggressiveness  of  white  men,  and  his  determination 
not  to  permit  his  native  country  to  become  alienated  to 
them.  During  this  inflammatory  speech,  whose  effect 
upon  others  could  be  perceived,  General  Lane  sat  smiling 
thoughtfully,  but  whispered  to  Captain  Miller,  "Keep  your 
eye  on  that  d — d  scoundrel,"  which  was  equivalent  to  an 
order  to  keep  his  hand  on  his  pistol.  But  the  hostage  of 
chief  Jo's  son  was  better  security  against  treachery  than 
the  single  revolver,  and  the  party  came  safely  out  of  a 
dangerous  trap  in  which  they  were  apparently  fatally 
enmeshed.  These  appearances  led  Lane  to  require  other 
hostages  before  the  treaty  council  appointed  for  September 
eighth  took  place;  and  led  also  to  the  wearing  of  arms 
by  the  volunteers  who  assembled  in  the  vicinity  of  the  In 
dian  camp,  although  the  high  contracting  parties  were  un 
armed.  » 

By  the  terms  of  the  treaty,  the  United  States  acquired 
the  whole  of  the  Rogue-river  valley,  one  hundred  square 
miles  on  the  north  side  of  the  river,  in  the  vicinity  of 
Table  Rock,  being  reserved  for  a  temporary  home  for  the 
Indians.  The  price  agreed  upon  was  sixty  thousand  dol 
lars,  fifteen  thousand  being  deducted  for  indemnity  for 
losses  of  property  by  the  settlers  through  the  war.  Of  the 
remaining  forty-five  thousand,  five  thousand  was  to  be  ex 
pended  in  agricultural  implements  and  goods  chosen  by 
the  superintendent,  on  or  before  the  first  day  of  September, 
1854,  and  in  paying  for  such  improvements  as  had  been 
made  by  white  settlers  on  the  lands  reserved.  The  re 
maining  forty  thousand  was  to  be  paid  in  sixteen  annual 
installments,  commencing  at  the  above  date,  and  payable 
in  Indian  goods,  blankets,  stock,  and  farming  utensils. 
Each  of  the  chiefs  was  to  have  a  dwelling-house  erected, 
at  a  cost  of  not  more  than  five  hundred  dollars,  which 
houses  were  to  be  put  up  as  soon  after  the  ratification  of 
the  treaty  as  practicable.  When  the  nation  was  removed 


to  another  and  permanent  reservation,  buildings  for  the 
chiefs  were  again  to  be  furnished,  and  fifteen  thousand 
additional  was  to  be  paid  to  the  tribe  in  five  annual  in 
stallments,  commencing  at  the  expiration  of  the  previous 

The  treaty  bound  the  Indians  to  make  their  permanent 
residence  in  a  place  to  be  set  apart  in  the  future;  to  give 
up  firearms,  except  a  few  for  hunting;  to  forfeit  their  an 
nuities  if  they  went  to  war  against  the  settlers;  to  notify 
the  agent  of  the  raids  of  other  tribes  and  assist  in  expelling 
them;  to  apply  for  the  redress  of  their  own  wrongs  to  the 
agent  put  over  them;  to  protect  such  agent,  and  to  refrain 
from  molesting  white  persons  passing  through  the  reserva 
tion.  The  sacredness  of  property  was  to  be  regarded,  and 
all  crimes  by  red  or  white  men  were  to  be  tried  and  pun 
ished  according  to  the  laws  of  the  United  States.  To  pre 
vent  collisions,  white  people,  except  those  in  the  employ 
of  the  government,  were  forbidden  to  reside  on  the  reser 
vation,  and  the  Indians  were  required  to  deliver  them  up 
to  the  superintendent  if  they  disregarded  this  prohibition.5 
A  treaty  was  also  made  with  the  Cow  creek  band  of  Ump- 
quas,  which  through  its  contact  with  the  Grave  creek  band 
of  Rogue-rivers  had  become  troublesome.  This  band  sold 
eight  hundred  square  miles,  about  half  of  which  was  good 
farming  land,  for  twelve  thousand  dollars  and  a  few  pres 

Two  circumstances  must  be  taken  into  account  in  pass 
ing  judgment  upon  treaty  makers;  the  first,  that  the  price 
offered  for  Indian  territory  is  not  dependent  upon  its  ex 
tent,  but  upon  its  population;  and,  the  second,  that  to  se 
cure  the  ratification  of  a  treaty  it  should  not  call  for  too 
large  an  appropriation.  The  whole  business  of  Indian 
treaties  is  open  to  criticism,  but  this  is  not  the  place  for 
it.  The  people  of  Rogue-river  valley  and.  the  contiguous 

3  The  names  appended  to  this  treaty  were  Joel  Palmer,  superintendent  of  Indian 
affairs;  Samuel  H.  Culver,  Indian  agent;  Asperkahar  (Jo),  Toquahear  (  Sam),  Anac- 
haharah  (Jim),  John,  and  Limpy.  The  witnesses  were  Joseph  Lane,  Augustus  V. 
Kautz,  J.  W.  Nesmith,  K.  B.  Metcalf,  John  (interpreter),  J.  D.  Mason,  and  T.  T.  Tier- 


mining  territory  must  have  respite  from  police  duty,  must 
be  able  to  sleep  by  night,  and  attend  to  their  affairs  by 
day;  and  Palmer  doubtless  acted  upon  his  best  judgment 
in  securing  these  blessings  to  both  races. 

After  the  conclusion  of  the  treaties,  Samuel  11.  Culver 
took  up  his  residence  as  Indian  agent  on  the  reservation, 
and  Captain  Smith  proceeded  to  erect  Fort  Lane,  opposite 
the  lower  end  of  Table  Rock,  where  he  went  into  quarters 
with  his  troop.  Business  and  travel  were  resumed,  and  the 
inhabitants  of  the  valley  enjoyed  once  more  the  peace  they 
craved,  breathed  freely,  and  slept  soundly.  The  volunteers 
were  disbanded,  with  the  exception  of  Captain  John  F.  Mil 
ler's  company,  which  was  ordered  to  the  Modoc  country  to 
patrol  the  southern  emigrant  road,  always  a  dangerous 
one  to  travelers.  Hastily  collecting  provisions  and  ammu 
nition,  Captain  Miller  proceeded  to  the  lake  country,  mak 
ing  his  headquarters  on  Lost  river,  near  tihe  natural  bridge, 
and  marching  the  main  part  of  his  command  as  far  east 
as  Surprise  valley  and  the  Humboldt  river,  keeping  upon 
the  road  until  the  immigration  had  all  passed  the  points 
of  danger. 

When  the  volunteers  were  in  the  vicinity  of  Tule  lake 
they  observed  smoke  rising  above  the  tules,  and  thinking 
it  came  from  fires  on  inhabited  islands  in  the  lake,  con 
structed  boats  of  wagon  beds  and  went  out  to  explore  them, 
when  they  found  a  number  of  canoes  filled  with  Modoc 
women  and  children,  and  containing  fireplaces  of  stone  and 
mud,  at  which  were  cooked  the  fish  on  which  they  subsisted. 
On  the  Indian  children  was  found  the  blood-stained  cloth 
ing  taken  from  murdered  immigrant  children.  These 
families,  hiding  from  the  justly  apprehended  wrath  of 
white  men,  were  made  to  pay  the  penalty  of  blood  with 
out  process  of  law,  or  the  law's  delays. 

About  the  middle  of  October  the  miners  of  Illinois  val 
ley  were  annoyed  by  the  frequent  depredations  of  the 


coast  Indians,  who  had  been  driven  in  upon  them  fyy 
miners  on  the  beach,  who  had  previously  suffered  from 
murder  and  robbery.  It  being  necessary  to  punish  them, 
Lieutenant  R.  C.  W.  Radford  of  Fort  Lane,  was  ordered 
to  take  a  few  men  and  chastise  these  Indians.  But  rind 
ing  them  too  numerous  to  attack,  he  sent  for  reenforce- 
ments,  which,  arriving  under  Lieutenant  Caster  on  the 
twenty-second,  pursuit  was  begun,  and  after  a  chase  of 
three  days  among  the  mountains  a  skirmish  took  place,  in 
which  about  a  dozen  Indians  and  two  troopers  were  killed, 
and  four  troopers  wounded.  Considerable  property  taken 
from  the  miners  was  recovered,  and  a  treaty  entered  into 
between  the  miners  and  this  branch  of  the  Rogue-river 
nation,  which  was  observed  until  January  following,  when 
a  party  from  Sailor  diggings  in  pursuit  of  unknown  rob 
bers,  by  mistake  attacked  the  treaty  Indians,  some  of  both 
sides  being  killed.  Peace  was  restored  when  the  Indian 
agent  appeared  and  the  affair  was  explained. 

According  to  the  report  of  the  secretary  of  war,  the 
Indian  disturbances  in  southern  Oregon  in  1853  cost  the 
lives  of  over  one  hundred  white  persons,  and  several  hun 
dred  Indians.  In  making  his  estimate  the  secretary  must 
have  included  the  northern  portion  o/  California,  which 
by  reason  of  the  unsettled  boundary  line  was  at  that  time 
pretty  generally  spoken  of  as  being  in  Oregon.  The  ex 
pense  to  the  general  government  was  said  to  be  seven  thou 
sand  dollars  a  day,  with  only  from  two  hundred  to  five 
hundred  men  in  the  field;  and  the  hostilities  in  the  short 
period  of  little  over  a  month  to  have  cost  a  total  of  two 
hundred  and  fifty-eight  thousand  dollars. 

The  loss  to  settlers,  computed  by  a  commission  consist 
ing  of  L.  F.  Grover,  A.  C.  Gibbs,  and  G.  H.  Ambrose^ 
amounted  to  a  little  less  than  forty -six  thousand-  dollars, 
nearly  eighteen  thousand  of  which  was  deducted  from  the 
price  paid  by  the  government  for  the  Rogue-river  lands  to 
cover  losses  and  pay  for  improvements  vacated.  There 
fore  it  might  be  said  that,  after  all,  the  United  States 


paid  heavily  in  one   way   and  another  for   this  portion 
of  Oregon.4 

As  to  the  people  whose  stock  had  been  killed,  whose 
houses  and  fences  destroyed,  and  as  to  the  widows  and 
fatherless  children  left  by  the  war,  the  little  indemnity 
money  to  be  obtained  at  the  end  of  congressional  deliber 
ation  and  commissioners'  awards  counted  as  nothing 
against  their  losses.  Many  of  the  claimants  failed  to 
receive  this  pitiful  payment,  and,  in  1872,  the  balance  of 
the  appropriation  for  this  purpose  was  illegally  turned 
back  into  the  treasury,  where  it  remained  for  ten  years 
longer  before,  by  the  labor  of  several  attorneys  and  an 
order  of  Secretary  Fairchilds,  it  was  placed  back  to  the 
credit  of  the  claimants.  And  then  the  commissioner  of 
Indian  affairs  and  the  secretary  and  auditor  of  the  treas 
ury,  were  unable  to  find  the  original  report  of  the  com 
missioners  of  award,  refusing  to  pass  any  claim  without  it, 
or  without  an  act  of  congress.  However,  at  length,  through 
the  persistency  of  B.  F.  Dowell  of  Jacksonville,  the  origi 
nal  report  was  discovered,  and  the  claims  all  settled  thirty 
years  after  the  war. 

The  feeling  of  security  which  followed  the  treaty  and 
the  establishment  *of  Fort  Lane  was  of  short  duration. 
The  Indians  having  had  time  to  consider  the  terms  of  the 
treaty  in  all  its  parts,  were  dissatisfied  and  insolent.  On 

4  The  names  of  those  who  received  a  pro  rata  of  thirty-four  and  seventy-seven 
hundredths  per  cent  out  of  the  fifteen  thousand  dollars  retained  from  the  appropria 
tion  to  carry  out  the  treaty  of  1853,  were :  Martin  Angell,  John  Anderson,  James 
Abraham,  Shertack  Abraham,  John  Agy,  Clinton  Barney,  John  Benjamin,  David  N. 
Birdseye,  Michael  Brennan,  Wm.  N.  Ballard,  James  Bruce,  Cram,  Rogers  &  Co.,  The- 
dosia  Cameron,  Silas  Day,  Edward  Day,  James  R.  Davis,  Dunn  &  Alluding,  Sigmond 
Enlinger,  Wm.  M.  Elliott,  David  Evans,  Daniel  F.  Fisher,  Asa  G.  Fordyce,  Thomas 
Frazzell,  James  B.  Fryer,  Galley  &  Oliver,  John  Gheen,  Burrill  B.  Griffin,  Sam  Grubb, 
Hall&  Burpee,  David  Hayhart,  John  R.  Hardin,  Obadiah  D.  Harris,  Henry  Ham, 
Mary  Ann  Hodgkins,  Elias  Huntington,  Wm.  M.  Hughes,  D.  Irwin,  Albert  B.  Jen- 
nison,  Thomas  P.  Jewett,  Wm.  Kohler,  Wm.  S.  King,  Nicholas  Kohenstein,  Nathan 
B.  Lane,  James  L.  London,  John  Markley,  Robert  B.  Metcalf,  John  S.  Miller,  Tra- 
veena  McComb,  McGreer,  Drury  &  Runnel  Is,  James  Mooney,  Francis  Nassarett,  Win. 
Newton,  Edith  M.  Nickel,  Hiram  Niday,  John  Patrick,  Sylvester  Pease,  John  Penne- 
ger,  Dan  Raymond,  Eph.  Raymond,  John  E.  Ross,  Lewis  Rotherend,  Frederick  Rosen- 
stock,  Henry  Rowland,  T.  B.  Sanderson,  Freeman  Smith,  Pleasant  W.  Stone,  John 
Swinden,  George  H.  C.  Taylor,  James  C.  Tolman,  William  Thompson,  John  Triplett, 


the  sixth  of  October  a  merchant  of  Jacksonville,  James 
C.  Kyle,  a  partner  of  Thomas  Wills,  who  was  murdered 
on  August  fifth,  was  also  killed  within  two  miles  of  Fort 
Lane.  Soon  after  followed  the  news  of  the  trouble  with 
the  lower  Rogue-rivers  already  mentioned,  resulting  from 
the  murder  of  three  white  men.  Although  these  Indians 
were  subdued,  there  was  again  awakened  a  feeling'of  un 
easiness,  which  was  the  precursor  of  further  trouble. 

The  change  in  the  habits  of  the  treaty  Indians  was  fol 
lowed  by  sickness  among  them,  which,  being  complained 
of,  the  agent  allowed  them  greater  liberty.  As  might  have 
been  foreseen,  this  liberty  was  abused,  and  the  discontent 
on  both  sides  deepened.  The  trial,  conviction,  and  execu 
tion  of  the  murderers  of  Edwards  and  Kyle  in  January 
did  not  tend  to  the  cultivation  of  friendly  relations.5 

About  the  eighteenth  of  January,  a  party  of  Rogue- 
rivers,  Shastas,  and  Modocs,  led  by  chief  Bill,  stole  the 
horses  belonging  to  a  mining  camp  on  Cottonwood  creek, 
driving  them  into  the  mountains.  A  company  was  has 
tily  organized  to  go  in  pursuit  and  recover  the  horses. 
When  on  the  trail  they  were  shot  at  from  ambush,  and 
Hiram  Hulan,  John  Clark,  John  Oldfield,  and  Wesley 
Mayden  were  killed. 

A  messenger  was  dispatched  to  Fort  Jones,  then  com 
manded  by  Captain  Judah,  who  set  out  at  once  with 
twenty  men,  all  his  available  force,  to  follow  the  trail  of 

Wm.  G.  F.  Vauk,  Weller  &  Rose,  Samuel  Williams,  Charles  Williams,  Isaac  Woolen, 
and  Jeremiah  Yarnell.  The  settlers  who  gave  up  their  improvements  on  the  land 
reserved  were  David  Evans,  Matthew  G.  Kennedy,  John  G.  Cook,  William  Hutchin- 
son,  Charles  Gray,  Robert  B.  Metcalf,  Jacob  Gall,  George  H.  C.  Taylor,  John  M.  Silcott, 
and  James  Lesley :  Report  of  Superintendent  Palmer,  in  United  States  house  exe 
cutive  documents,  52,  pp.  3-5,  thirty -eighth  Congress,  second  session. 

6 The  murderers,  Indian  Tom  and  Indian  George,  were  indicted  and  had  a  fair 
trial.  Having  no  counsel,  the  court  appointed  D.  B.  Brennan  and  P.  P.  Prim  to  de 
fend  them.  Agent  Culver  and  Louis  Denois  acted  as  interpreters  to  the  court  and 
jury.  The  officers  of  the  court  were  :  O.  B.  McFadden,  judge  ;  S.  Sims,  prosecuting 
attorney;  Matthew  G.  Kennedy,  sheriff;  and  Lycurgus  Jackson,  clerk.  The  jury 
impaneled  were<  S.  D.  Vandyke,  Edward  McCartie,  T.  Gregard,  A.  Davis,  Robert 
Hasgadine,  A.  D.  Lake,  James  Hamlin,  Samuel  Hall,  Frederick  Alberdine,  F.  Heber, 
and  R.  Henderson.  The  sentence  of  the  court  was  that  the  convicted  Indians  should 
be  hung  on  the  nineteenth  of  February.  The  sentence  was,  however,  on  account  of 
the  troublesome  times,  carried  out  a  few  days  after  the  trial.  These  were  the  only 
Indians  ever  punished  for  crime  by  the-authorities  in  southern  Oregon. 


the  Indians,  which  led  him  to  a  cave  near  the  Klamath 
river,  in  which  stronghold  they  had  fortified  themselves. 
In  conjunction  with  a  volunteer  company  under  Greiger, 
captain,  he  reconnoitered  the  position,  and  finding  it  too 
strong  to  be  taken  without  artillery,  withdrew,  and  dis 
patched  Lieutenant  Crook  and  D.  Sorrell  to  Fort  Lane  to 
bring  up  a  mountain  howitzer.  Several  days  were  occu 
pied  in  this  expedition,  Captain  Smith  arriving  on  the 
twenty-sixth  with  Lieutenant  Ogle  and  fifteen  dragoons. 
The  regular  force  now  amounted  to  thirty-eight,  rank  and 
file,  and  the  volunteers  numbered  forty-five.  Captain 
Judah  falling  ill,  remained  in  camp  with  eight  regulars 
and  a  few  of  Greiger's  men,  and  on  the  twenty-seventh 
the  attack  was  made. 

The  cave  occupied  by  the  Indians  was  in  the  face  of  an 
almost  perpendicular  palisade,  three  hundred  feet  above 
the  valley,  the  approach  being  in  front  and  easily  defended. 
Captain  Greiger,  with  seventeen  men,  took  his  position  on 
top,  and  the  remainder  of  the  volunteers,  with  Lieutenant 
Bonnycastle,  with  his  command  and  the  howitzer,  were 
stationed  in  front.  Owing  to  the  angle  at  which  the 
howitzer  was  fired  it  had  no  other  effect  than  to  frighten 
the  Indians,  who  now  cried  out  for  peace,  a  prayer  which 
Smith,  who  knew  less  about  Indian  fighting  than  he  did  a 
year  or  two  later,  was  quite  ready  to  grant.  But  to  this 
the  volunteers  were  unwilling  to  consent,  saying  the  mur 
derers  must  be  punished,  and  Smith  after  moving  the  gun 
to  a  different  position  fired  a  few  more  ineffectual  shells. 
During  the  afternoon  Greiger  was  struck  by  a  shot  from  the 
cave  and  killed,  to  the  great  sorrow  of  his  company,  for  he 
was  an  estimable  man  and  useful  citizen. 

Night  coming  on  the  forces  encamped  in  front  of  the 
cave,  and  Bill  sent  three  Indian  women  to  ask  for  a  talk, 
Captain  Smith  granting  the  request,  and  going  to  the  cave 
the  following  morning  with  Eddy,  a  citizen,  to  hold  the 
intervi-ew.  He  found,  he  says,6  about  fifty  Shastas,  who 

6  United  States  house  executive  documents,  p.  88,  thirty-fifth  congress,  second 


declared  that  they  loved  peace  and  had  lived  on  terms  of 
friendship  with  the  white  people  about  Yreka  and  Cotton- 
wood,  but  that  the  miners  at  the  latter  place  had  ill-treated 
their  women,  for  which  reason  they  had  left  that  neigh 
borhood.7  Accepting  this  apology  for  theft  and  murder, 
Captain  Smith  advised  Bill  to  remain  in  his  stronghold 
where  he  would  be  safe  from  the  volunteers.  On  learning 
Smith's  views,  and  there  being  no  further  prospect  of 
bringing  the  Indians  to  justice,  the  volunteers  returned 
home  with  the  body  of  their  captain,  taking  with  them 
some  Indian  ponies. 

Troubles  between  the  miners  on  the  beaches  between 
Port  Orford  and  Coos  bay  and  the  Coquille  Indians  broke 
out  in  January,  1854.  The  following  is  a  copy  of  the 
proceedings  of  a  meeting  called  on  the  twenty-seventh 
of  the  month  to  consider  the  situation: — 

At  a  meeting  of  the  miners  and  citizens  assembled  at  the  Coquille 
ferry-house  for  the  purpose  of  investigating  Indian  difficulties,  the 
following  resolutions  were  adopted. 

On  motion,  A.  F.  Soap  was  called  to  the  chair,  and  Win.  H. 
Packwood  appointed  secretary. 

All  persons  having  observed  any  hostile  movement  of  the  Indians 
were  called  upon  to  state  the  facts. 

John  A.  Pension  stated  that  he  discovered,  on  the  twenty-third 
instant,  an  Indian  riding  a  horse  up  and  down  the  beach.  He  went 
over  to  the  Indian  village  to  see  whose  horse  it  was.  It  proved  to 
be  a  horse  that  Mr.  Whike  had  ridden  up  from  Port  Orfoid.  I  (  Pen 
sion)  took  the  horse  from  the  Indian  and  went  to  the  chief.  He 
attempted  to  take  the  trappings  off  the  horse.  I  would  not  allow 
him  to  do  so,  wanting  them  as  proof  of  his  conduct.  I  expostulated 
with  them  in  regard  to  their  conduct.  They  laughed  at  me  and 
ordered  me  to  clatawa. 

Mr.  Whike,  being  present,  corroborated  the  above  statement. 

John  A.  Pension  stated  further :  On  the  twenty-fourth  instant 
there  were  three  men  on  the  other  side  of  the  river.  I  went  over 
to  ferry  them  across.  They  asked  me  the  reason  why  the  Indians 
wanted  to  drive  them  back  ( to  the  mines ),  and  not  let  them  cross 

7  It  is  undoubtedly  true  that  some  men  among  the  miners  treated  the  Indian 
women  brutally ;  but  the  Indians  themselves  sold  their  wives  and  daughters  to  them 
without  shame. 


the  river.  An  Indian  present  seemed  to  be  in  a  great  passion,  using 
the  words  u  God  damn  Americans  "  very  frequently. 

Mr.  Thomas  Lowe  corroborated  the  above  statement. 

Mr.  Malcolm  stated  that  yesterday  (the  twenty-sixth  instant) 
the  Indian  chief  John  shot  into  a  crowd  of  men  standing  in  front 
of  the  ferry-house  at  that  time. 

Mr.  Thomas  Lowe  and  Mr.  Whike  corroborated  the  above  state 

Mr.  Whike  and  Thomas  Lowe  state  that  early  this  morning  ( the 
twenty-seventh )  they  discovered  the  rope  by  which  the  ferryboat 
was  tied  up  to  be  cut  in  two,  having  been  done  in  the  night  of  the 
twenty-sixth  instant.  The  boat  would  have  been  lost  had  it  not 
been  buoyed  out.8 

Mr.  George  H.  Abbott  stated :  I  came  here  yesterday  evening 
(the  twenty -sixth ),  and  finding  difficulties  existing  between  the 
whites  and  Indians,  and  having  an  interpreter  with  me,  I  sent  for 
the  chief  for  the  purpose  of  having  an  explanation.  He  returned 
for  answer  that  he  would  neither  explain  nor  be  friendly  with 
the  whites  on  any  terms.  I  sent  back  the  Indian  the  second  time, 
insisting  on  an  explanation.  He  (the  chief ) sent  back  word  that  he 
would  not  come,  nor  give  any  explanation  whatever,  and  that  he 
would  kill  every  white  man  that  attempted  to  come  to  him,  or  go  to 
his  village;  that  he  intended  to  kill  the  men  at  the  ferry  and  destroy 
their  houses;  that  he  was  going  to  rid  his  country  of  all  white  men; 
that  it  was  no  use  talking  to  him,  and  that  if  they  ( the  whites ) 
would  take  out  his  heart  and  wash  it,  he  would  still  be  the  same. 

Mr.  George  H.  Abbott,  interpreter:  Interpretation  of  the  above 
corroborated  by  John  Grolouise  ( half-breed). 

.Resolved,  That  the  Indians  in  this  vicinity  are  in  a  state  of  hos 
tility  toward  the  whites  from  their  own  acknowledgements  and 

Resolved,  That  tomorrow  morning,  the  twenty -eighth  instant, 
as  early  as  possible,  we  will  move  upon  and  attack  the  Indian  vil 

By  vote,  Geo.  H.  Abbott  is  elected  captain  of  this  expedition,  A. 
F.  Soap,  first  lieutenant,  and  Wm.  H.  Packwood,  second  lieutenant. 
(Signed.)  A.  F.  SOAP,  Chairman. 

WM.  H.  PACKWOOD,  Secretary. 

Continuing  the  narrative  of  the  proceedings  following 
the  meeting  above  reported,  the  following  is  an  abstract  of 
Captain  Abbott's  official  report  to  Governor  Davis:  The 
Indian  village  (the  same  where  T' Vault's  party  was 
attacked  in  1850),  was  situated  on  both  sides  of  the  river, 

8  The  above-mentioned  persons  are  the  ferrymen  at  the  Coquille  river. 


about  one  and  a  half  miles  from  the  mouth,  one  part  on 
the  north,  and  two  on  the  south  side,  the  huts  on  the  north 
side  being  situated  on  open  ground,  and  easy  of  approach, 
while  those  on  the  south  were  in  the  edge  of  a  thicket 
connecting  with  a  heavy  body  of  timber. 

It  was  supposed  that  if  the  Indians  made  a  stand  it 
would  be  at  that  part  of  the  village  occupied  by  the  chief, 
namely,  the  lower  division  on  the  south  side.  Abbott 
divided  his  company  into  three  detachments,  Lieutenant 
Soap  with  one  being  sent  to  take  position  on  a  mound 
overlooking  the  village  on  the  north  side;  Packwood  took 
a  circuitous  route  through  the  woods  to  a  position  close  to 
the  upper  village  on  the  south  side,  while  Abbott  ap 
proached  the  lower  portion  of  it,  also  by  a  circuitous  route. 
At  a  given  signal,  the  firing  of  a  rifle,  a  simultaneous 
attack  was  to  be  made.  Except  that  Packwood  did  not 
get  into  position  before  the  signal  was  given,  all  happened 
as  had  been  planned,  and  before  daylight  the  attack  was 
made  from  three  points.  The  Indians  were  completely 
surprised  and  unable  to  offer  much  resistance;  some  fled 
into  the  woods.  Sixteen  were  killed  and  four  wounded. 
Twenty  old  men,  women,  and  children  were  captured, 
with  their  stores  of  provisions,  and  twelve  canoes.  Their 
huts  containing  their  arms  and  ammunition  were  burned. 
"  The  Indians,"  wrote  Abbott  to  the  governor,  "  were  thus 
severely  chastised  without  any  loss  on  the  part  of  the 
whites,  which  will  undoubtedly  have  a  salutary  effect  on 
all  the  Indians  inhabiting  this  coast  from  the  Umpqua  to 
Rogue  river." 

After  the  massacre,  for  it  could  not  be  called  a  battle, 
whatever  may  be  said  of  the  necessity  for  such  measures, 
Abbott  sent  three  of  the  captive  women  to  invite  the  chief 
to  a  peace-talk.  He  returned  for  answer  that  a  great 
number  of  his  people  had  been  killed,  and  he  was  himself 
wounded;  all  he  desired  was  peace,  and  the  friendship  of 
the  white  people  for  the  remainder  of  his  band.  His  heart 
he  declared  was  changed,  and  Abbott  was  requested  to 


send  a  chief  of  the  Sixes-river  band,  who  was  in  his  camp, 
to  him,  with  the  assurance  that  it  would  be  safe  to  do  so, 
when  he  would  come  and  talk,  which  he  did  the  same 
day.  A  treaty  of  peace  and  friendship  was  entered  into, 
the  volunteers  returning  to  their  usual  avocations. 

The  same  evening  the  miners  and  citizens  held  another 
meeting,  Mr.  McNamara  in  the  chair,  when  it  was  — 

Resolved,  That  whereas  the  Indians  have  been  defeated,  come  in 
and  sued  for  peace,  and  as  they  have  met  with  considerable  loss  of 
life  and  property  at  our  hands,  we  deem  it  suitable  to  return  all  their 
property,  and  the  prisoners  we  have  in  our  possession. 

Resolved,  That  two  copies  of  the  proceedings  of  the  meetings  of 
the  last  two  days  held  by  the  miners  and  citizens  be  drawn  up  for 
the  purpose  of  forwarding  one  copy  to  the  governor  of  this  territory, 
and  one  to  the  Indian  agent  at  Port  Orford. 

The  Indian  agent  at  Port  Orford  was  S.  M.  Smith,  who 
arrived  at  Coquille  ferry  on  the  day  following  this  affair, 
in  company  with  Lieutenant  Kautz,  and  who,  to  quote 
from  Abbott's  report,  "made  every  exertion  to  get  to  the 
scene  of  difficulties  before  hostilities  commenced,  but  was 
there  only  in  time  to  establish  a  more  permanent  under 
standing  with  the  Indians,  which  he  did  in  a  manner 
highly  creditable  to  himself  as  a  public  official." 

Reading  between  the  lines  of  this  praise  of  the  govern 
ment  officers,  we  might  discover  a  purpose  to  forestall  the 
efforts  of  Lieutenant  Kautz  and  the  agent,  which  in  the 
opinion  of  the  miners,  founded  on  experience,  would 
amount  to  nothing. 

On  the  thirtieth  of  January,  in  a  public  meeting  at  Ran 
dolph  City,  a  short  distance  from  Coquille  ferry,  H.  R. 
Scott  in  the  chair,  and  J.  B.  O'Meally,  secretary,  the  fol 
lowing  proceedings  were  had : — 


RANDOLPH  CITY,  30th  January,  1854.  j 

In  pursuance  with  the  wishes  of  the  citizens,  a  public  meeting 
which  was  to  be  held  yesterday  was  adjourned  until  today,  when 
the  meeting  was  held  at  Randolph  City,  in  order  to  take  into  con 
sideration,  and  reconsider  the  resolutions  that  were  passed  and 
adopted  here  last  Saturday,  twenty-eighth  instant,  as  well  as  the 


resolutions  and  proceedings  passed  and  adopted  at  a  public  meeting 
held  at  Coquille  river  (the  seat  of  war),  which  were  read  at  this 
meeting  today,  and  were  sanctioned  and  highly  approved,  relative 
to  the  hostilities  evinced  by  the  Indians  at  Coquille  against  whites. 

Upon  the  meeting  being  called  to  order,  H.  R.  Scott  was  ap 
pointed  chairman,  and  J.  B.  O'Meally,  secretary,  when  the  follow 
ing  resolutions  were  passed  and  adopted  : — 

Resolved,  Whereas  the  Indians  in  this  vicinity  have  been  vei*y 
troublesome  for  some  time  past,  i.  e.,  ever  since  the  discovery  of  the 
mines,  on  account  of  their  many  thefts,  it  being  unsafe  to  leave  a 
house  alone  while  the  inhabitants  were  absent  at  work,  the  Indians 
being  in  the  habit  of  ransacking  such  houses,  taking  all  the  pro 
visions  and  other  articles  such  as  they  could  conveniently  secrete, 
and  becoming  more  hostile  in  their  movements  every  day ;  and 
that  the  threatening  attitude  of  the  Indians  a  few  days  since  at 
Coquille  river  called  for  immediate  and  decisive  action  ;  and,  as  it 
was  considered  necessary  for  the  safety  of  the  lives  and  property  of 
the  citizens,  that  prompt  and  energetic  measures  should  be  taken, — 

Resolved,  That  we  consider  the  threatening  and  menacing  aspect 
of  the  Indians  at  the  Coquille  river  on  the  twenty-seventh  and 
twenty -eighth,  amounting  to  a  declaration  of  war  on  their  part. 

Resolved,  That  the  prompt  and  timely  action  of  the  citizens  and 
miners  assembled  at  the  Coquille  river  on  the  twenty-seventh  and 
twenty-eighth  instants,  has  struck  a  decisive  blow,  which  we  believe 
has  quelled  at  the  commencement  an  Indian  war,  which  might 
have  lasted  for  months,  causing  much  bloodshed  and  expense  to 
the  people  in  general,  and  we  have  also  ascertained  that  a  large 
quantity  of  secreted  firearms  and  powder  was  destroyed  in  the  burn 
ing  of  the  Indian  villages. 

Resolved,  That  duplicates  of  the  proceedings  of  this  meeting  be 
drawn  up  for  publication,  one  copy  to  be  sent  to  the  Indian  agent  at 
Port  Orford,  and  others  to  be  transmitted  to  the  different  newspapers 
in  Oregon  and  California  ;  and,  it  is  further 

Resolved,  That  a  copy  of  the  resolutions  passed  and  adopted  at 
the  meeting  held  last  Saturday,  twenty-eighth  instant,  at  Randolph 
City,  shall  accompany  the  resolutions  passed  and  adopted  here 

Resolved,  That  the  thanks  of  this  meeting  are  justly  due  and 
hereby  given  to  our  fellow-citizens  who  have  behaved  so  nobly  in 
suppressing  with  a  small  force  of  volunteers  the  Indians,  on  the 
twenty-seventh  and  twenty-eighth  instants,  at  Coquille  river,  who 
had  declared  war,  and  from  the  most  authentic  information  that  we 
have  obtained,  after  mature  investigation,  we  have  every  reason  to 
believe  that  the  Indians  were  on  the  eve  of  commencing  an  out 
break  against  the  whites. 

(Signed.)  H.  R.  SCOTT,  Chairman. 

J.  B.  O'MEALLY,  Secretary. 


Thus  was  checked,  for  the  time  being,  an  outbreak  in 
this  direction.  Whether  or  not  the  presence  of  troops  and 
a  howitzer  in  the  Rogue-river  valley  had  the  effect  to 
restrain  the  rising  discontent  among  the  Indians,  it  is 
certain  that  in  spite  of  it  there  were  fewer  murders  by 
them  in  the  summer  of  1854  than  for  three  }7ears  previous. 
Edward  Phillips,  a  miner  on  Applegate  creek,  was  mur 
dered  in  his  own  house  April  fifteenth.  Daniel  Gage  was 
killed  on  June  fifteenth  in  the  Siskiyou  mountains.  A 
man  named  McAmy  was  killed  near  DeWitt  ferry,  on  the 
Klamath  river,  June  twenty-fourth,  and  Thomas  O'Neal 
about  the  same  time.  Some  time  during  the  same  month, 
or  a  little  later,  John  Crittenden,  John  Badger,  Alexander 
Sawyer,  and  a  man  named  Wood,  were  murdered  by  the 
Modocs  or  Pit-river  Indians  on  the  southern  immigrant 
road,  at  Gravelly  ford,  in  the  Humboldt  valley;  and  in 
September,  a  Mr.  Stewart  of  Corvallis,  Oregon,  was  killed 
on  the  same  road.  On  the  second  of  November,  Alfred 
French,  formerly  connected  with  the  Chronicle  newspaper 
at  Independence,  Missouri,  was  murdered  by  Indians  near 
Crescent  City. 

The  murderers  in  every  case  escaped  punishment,  and 
so  far  as  the  officers  of  the  regular  army  stationed  in  the 
country  were  concerned,  were  defended  rather  than  chas 
tised,  owing  to  a  prejudiced  and  arbitrary  sentiment 
towards  civilians  entertained  by  General  Wool,  at  this 
time  in  command  of  the  division  of  the  Pacific.  Whoever 
has  read  his  correspondence  with  Adjutant-General  Thomas 
must  have  perceived  his  strong  bias  against  the  people  as 
distinguished  from  the  army,  from  governor's  down  to  the 
humblest  citizen,  and  his  especial  dislike  of  volunteer 
organizations.  The  reports  of  the  officers  in  command  of 
posts  in  Oregon,  California,  and  Washington,  were  colored 
by  this  feeling  exhibited  by  the  general  of  division,  and 
their  correspondence  was  too  often  distorted  by  their  sense 
of  what  was  expected  of  them  by  their  chief. 

The  murder  of  the  persons  named  on  the  southern  im- 


migrant  road  led  to  the  fear  that  the  Modocs  might  repeat 
the  wholesale  massacres  of  1852.  In  the  absence  of  a 
sufficient  military  force  at  the  posts  in  Oregon,  Governor 
Davis  had  written  to  General  Wool  for  troops  to  perform 
the  service  of  patrolling  the  roads  both  north  and  south, 
by  which  the  immigration  entered  Oregon,  but  Wool  was 
either  unable  or  unwilling  to  furnish  them.  He  did,  how 
ever,  reenforce  Smith's  squadron  with  a  detachment  of 
horse  lately  under  Wright's  command,  which  marched  to 
Klamath  lake  and  back,  reporting  no  danger  from  Indians. 
The  real  service  was  performed  for  the  southern  route  by 
a  volunteer  force  under  Jesse  Walker,  with  the  approba 
tion  of  acting  Governor  Curry. 

The  cost  of  this  expedition,  which  had  no  fighting  to 
do,  but  which  was  probably  a  useful  object  lesson  to  the 
Indians,  was  forty-five  thousand  dollars.  Its  enemies 
named  it  the  "  Expedition  to  fight  the  immigrants,"  and 
denounced  Quartermaster-General  C.  S.  Drew  and  others 
as  thieves  on  account  of  it.  The  regular  army  officers 
took  up  the  cry,  and  declared  the  expedition  unnecessary 
and  a  fraud  upon  the  government,  which  must  foot  the 
bills.  These  accusations  led  to  investigation  as  to  the 
prices  charged  by  the  merchants  of  Yreka,  who  furnished 
the  supplies,  whose  testimony  was  corroborated  by  the 
merchants  of  Jacksonville,  showing  the  current  prices 
during  that  year.  A  mass  of  evidence  was  collected  at 
additional  cost,8  and  years  of  delay  in  the  settlement  of 
accounts  resulted.  Forty-five  thousand  dollars  was  a  large 
sum,  but  an  Indian  war  would  have  cost  more,  to  say  noth 
ing  of  the  loss  of  life;  and  the  people  of  southern  Oregon 
considered  peace  at  any  price  worth  all  it  cost. 

But  the  feeling  of  white  men  in  Oregon  who  had  lost 
friends  or  property,  or  both,  were  not  soothed  by  the 
knowledge  that  General  WooJ,  in  sending  a  reinforcement 
to  Fort  Lane,  had  declared  it  was  not  to  protect  the  settlers 
and  miners  that  troops  were  needed,  but  to  protect  the 

8  United  States  house  miscellaneous  documents,  47,  pp.  32-35,  thirty-fifth  congress, 
second  session. 


Indians  against  white  men,  and  that  for  this  latter  pur 
pose  the  force  in  Oregon  should  be  increased.  His  request 
to  the  secretary  of  war  for  more  troops  in  his  department 
accompanying  such  declarations,  was  —  as  it  should  have 
been  —  refused,  and  Oregon  remained  as  it  had  for  so  many 
years  been,  undefended,  except  as  the  people  to  the  best  of 
their  ability  took  care  of  themselves. 

In  his  correspondence  with  the  war  department,  General 
Wool  expressed  the  opinion  that  the  immigration  to  Cali 
fornia  and  Oregon  would  soon  render  unnecessary  those 
posts  already  established,  and  declared  that  if  it  were  left 
to  his  discretion  he  should  abolish  them,  namely,  Forts 
Jones,  Reading,  and  Miller  in  northern  California,  and 
Dalles  and  Lane  in  Oregon.  In  their  place  he  would  have 
a  temporary  post  on  Pit  river,  another  on  Puget  sound, 
and  possibly  one  in  the  Snake-river  country. 

Of  the  inability  of  immigrants  to  protect  themselves 
proof  was  furnished  in  the  month  of  August  near  old  Fort 
Boise,  when  a  party  of  Kentuckians,  numbering  twenty- 
one  men,  women,  and  children,  led  by  Alexander  Ward, 
was  attacked  and  massacred,  only  two  boys  being  left  alive, 
who  were  rescued. 

The  horrors  of  the  Ward  massacre  called  for  the  imme 
diate  chastisement  of  the  Indians  in  the  Boise  country. 
There  was  at  Fort  Dalles,  the  nearest  point  where  a  soldier 
could  be  found,  only  a  single  company  of  men,  under 
Major  Granville  0.  Haller.  With  about  sixty  of  these, 
and  a  few  citizens  who  chose  to  accompany  the  expedition, 
Major  Haller  took  the  road  to  Boise,  if  only  to  make  a 
show  on  the  part  of  the  government,  for  the  information  of 
the  Indians,  of  its  desire  and  intention  to  protect  its  people 
and  punish  their  destroyers.  On  Haller's  arrival  in  the 
Snake  country,  the  Indians,  well  advised  of  his  move 
ments,  had  retired  to  the  mountains  where  it  was  too  late 
to  attempt  following  them,  and  he  could  only  march  back 
to  The  Dalles. 


It  is  not  necessary  in  this  place  to  say  more  of  the  Boise 
affair  than  that  Haller  accomplished  the  following  sum 
mer  the  hanging  of  the  leaders  of  the  massacre,  returning 
to  The  Dalles  in  September,  1855,  just  in  time  to  take  part 
in  a  war  nearer  his  post. 

But  apropo  of  the  discord  between  the  civil  and  military 
authorities,  Governor  Curry,  on  learning  that  Haller's  first 
expedition  was  not  likely  to  accomplish  anything,  on  the 
eighteenth  of  September,  1854,  issued  a  proclamation 
calling  for  two  companies  of  volunteers  of  sixty  men  each, 
to  march  to  Boise  and  punish  the  Indians.  These  com 
panies  were  to  be  enlisted  for  six  months,  unless  sooner 
discharged,  and  to  furnish  their  own  horses,  equipments, 
arms,  and  ammunition,  and  choose  their  own  officers,  re 
porting  to  Brigadier-General  Nesmith  on  the  twenty-fifth. 
The  governor  issued  commissions  to  George  K.  Sheil  as 
assistant  adjutant-general;  to  John  McCracken  as  assistant 
quartermaster-general;  and  to  Victor  Trevitt  as  commis 
sary  and  quartermaster.  But  Nesmith,  on  learning  that 
Colonel  Bonneville  of  Fort  Vancouver  had  refused  a  re 
quest  of  the  governor  for  arms  and  supplies,  giving  it  as 
his  opinion  that  a  winter  campaign  was  neither  necessary 
nor  practicable,  expressed  a  like  opinion,  and  the  call  for 
for  volunteers  was  withdrawn.  Meanwhile,  events  were 
marching  on. 



THE  total  military  force  in  the  department  of  the  Pacific 
at  the  expiration  of  1854  was  twelve  hundred, —  dragoons, 
infantry,  and  artillery, —  of  which  three  hundred  and 
thirty-five  were  stationed  in  Oregon  and  Washington. 
But  others  were  under  orders  for  the  Pacific  coast.  The 
army  bill  had  failed  to  pass  in  Congress,  and  only  through 
smuggling  a  section  into  the  appropriation  bill  providing 
for  two  more  regiments  of  cavalry  and  two  of  infantry,  was 
any  increase  in  the  army  made  possible.  This  was  accom 
plished  by  the  delegation  from  the  Pacific;  and  it  was 
further  provided  that  arms  should  be  distributed  to  the 
militia  of  the  territories,  according  to  the  act  of  1808, 
arming  the  militia  of  the  states.  No  other  or  special  pro 
vision  was  made  for  the  defense  of  the  northwest  territories, 
and  this  was  the  military  situation  at  the  beginning  of 

It  should  be  noted  before  entering  upon  the  recital  of 
the  events  of  this  year  that  the  superintendent  of  Indian 
affairs,  Palmer,  was  able  in  the  month  of  October  preced 
ing  to  assure  the  tribes  with  whom  he  had  made  treaties 



that  they  had  been  ratified  by  congress,  although  with 
some  amendments  to  which  they  gave  their  assent  with 
evident  reluctance.  One  of  these  allowed  other  tribes  to 
be  placed  on  their  reservation  —  an  intrusion  which  the 
jealous  nature  of  the  Indian  resents  with  bitterness; 
another,  consolidated  all  the  Rogue-river  tribes  in  one  — 
an  equally  offensive  measure  for  the  same  reason. 

Palmer  had  intended  to  remove  the  Indians  of  the 
Wallamet  valley  east  of  the  Cascades,  but  found  them  un 
willing  to  go,  and  the  Indians  on  the  east  side  of  the 
mountains  unwilling  to  receive  them  on  account  of 
their  diseased  condition.  As  this  was  a  reasonable  ob 
jection  from  a  civilized  point  of  view,  he  gathered  them 
upon  a  reservation  called  the  Grand  Rond,  in  the  county 
of  Polk,  to  the  infinite  disgust  of  the  settlers  in  that 
district.  But  Palmer  was  a  man  who  took  his  own  way 
about  things,  and  as  he  did  his  work  thoroughly,  without 
pother,  those  from  whom  he  derived  his  authority  seldom 
meddled  with  him.  If  he  was  arbitrary,  he  was  generally 
in  the  right,  and  it  saved  a  deal  of  trouble  to  give  him  the 
management.  He  had  much  ado  to  secure  and  keep 
worthy  agents,  on  account  of  the  small  amount  allowed 
them  in  salaries  —  so  small  indeed  as  to  offer  an  argument 
for,  as  well  as  an  inducement  to  peculation.  He  had, 
however,  at  the  different  agencies  such  men  as  Philip  F. 
Thompson,  E.  P.  Drew,  Nathan  Olney  (who  succeeded 
Parrish),  R.  R.  Thompson,  W.  W.  Raymond,  William  J. 
Martin,  and  Robert  Metcalf.  S.  H.  Culver  was  superseded 
on  the  Rogue- river  reservation  by  George  H.  Ambrose; 
and  Ben  Wright  was  appointed  to  the  charge  of  the  tribes 
on  the  southern  coast. 

No  treaties,  other  than  the  informal  and  temporary 
agreements  made  by  Dr.  White  under  the  provisional 
government,  had  ever  been  made  with  the  tribes  of  east 
ern  Oregon  or  Washington;  nor  had  the  subject  been  ap 
proached  when  1. 1.  Stevens,  the  newly  appointed  governor 
of  Washington  crossed  the  country  at  the  head  of  an  ex- 


pedition  surveying  for  a  Pacific  railroad  route,  and  had 
conferred  with  several  of  the  tribes  on  the  north  side  of 
the  Columbia  concerning  the  sale  of  their  lands.  They 
had  seemed  well  disposed  towards  the  government  and 
willing  to  sell,  and  Stevens  had  so  reported.  On  the 
strength  of  this  report  Stevens  and  Palmer  had  been  ap 
pointed  commissioners  to  make  treaties  with  these  tribes, 
and  money  had  been  appropriated  for  the  purpose. 

But  in  the  time  which  had  intervened  between  Stevens' 
first  appearance  among  them  and  the  spring  of  1855  many 
things  had  occurred  to  change  the  friendly  feeling  then 
expressed  into  one  of  doubt,  if  not  of  fear  and  hostility. 
For  there  are  no  greater  gossips  and  newsmongers  in  the 
world  than  Indians,  whose  childish  imaginations  quickly 
seize  upon  any  hint  of  coming  events  to  distort  and  mag 
nify  it.  They  had  been  alarmed  by  the  rumor  of  Palmer's 
design  of  settling  the  Wallamet  tribes  east  of  the  moun 
tains.  They  weie  informed  of  the  troubles  in  southern 
Oregon  from  the  coast  to  Goose  lake,  and  of  the  expedi 
tions  sent  out  against  the  Modocs  and  against  the  Snakes. 
The  Cay  uses  had  not  forgotten  the  tragedy  of  Waiilatpu, 
and  their  punishment;  the  Nez  Perces  were,  as  they  had 
been  always,  cautious  and  conservative.  It  was,  in  truth, 
not  a  propitious  time  for  treaty  making  with  the  powerful 
tribes  of  the  trans-Cascades  country. 

But  the  command  having  gone  forth,  Governor  Stevens 
made  some  preliminary  movements  during  the  winter  of 
1854-5,  by  sending  among  the  Indians  of  eastern  Wash 
ington,  Mr.  James  Doty,  already  known  to  them  as  his 
trusted  aid,  who  explained  the  nature  of  the  council  to 
which  they  were  invited  in  May,  securing  their  promises 
to  be  present,  and  also  their  assent  to  the  proposition  to 
purchase  their  lands,  except  such  portions  as  they  wished 
to  reserve  for  their  permanent  homes.  The  first  council 
was  to  be  held  with  the  Yakimas,  Cayuses,  Walla  Wallas, 
and  Nez  Perces,  in  the  Walla  Walla  valley,  on  an  ancient 
council  ground  of  the  Yakima  nation,  selected  by  Kamia- 


kin,  chief  of  this  people,  and  about  five  miles  distant  from 

The  goods  and  agricultural  implements  intended  for 
presents  to  the  chiefs,  together  with  the  necessary  supplies 
for  a  large  camp,  were  transported  above  The  Dalles  in 
keelboats,  the  first  freight  carriers  on  the  upper  Columbia 
river,  and  this  their  first  freight.  The  goods  were  disem 
barked  and  stored  at  Fort  Walla  Walla  of  the  Hudson's 
Bay  Company,  then  in  charge  of  Mr.  James  Sinclair.  The 
commissioners  were  escorted  from  The  Dalles  to  the  council 
grounds  by  forty  dragoons  under  Lieutenant  Archibald 
Gracie,  which  force  was  raised  to  forty-seven  by  the  ad 
dition  en  route  of  a  squad  which  had  been  out  for  a  week 
in  the  vain  search  for  some  Indian  murderers. 

From  Walla  Walla,  the  commissioners  repaired  at  once 
to  the  council  ground,  leaving  their  escort  to  follow.  The 
spot  selected  proved  to  be  a  beautiful  one,  and  was  made 
comfortable  by  the  erection  of  a  long  arbor  for  dining, 
supplied  with  tables  made  of  logs  split  down  the  middle 
and  placed  upon  rude  trestles  with  the  flat  side  up.  Seats 
were  similarly  improvised,  and  the  place  made  to  wear  a 
picturesquely  inviting  aspect.  Plenty  of  time  was  allowed 
for  these  preparations  and  for  the  arrival  of  the  military, 
that  is  to  say,  from  the  twentieth  to  the  twenty-fourth,  be 
fore  the  Indians,  ever  dilatory  on  such  occasions,  began  to 

The  first  to  arrive  were  chiefs  Lawyer  and  Looking  Glass 
of  the  Nez  Perces,  who  encamped  near  the  commissioners 
after  having  displayed  with  their  followers  in  their  war 
costume,  the  startling  evolutions  described  in  the  account 
given  by  Dr.  White's  visit  to  the  Nez  Perces  in  1843.  Two 
days  later  the  Cayuses  arrived,  making  a  similar  display; 
and  on  the  twenty-eighth  the  Yakimas,  the  whole  assem 
blage  numbering  between  four  and  five  thousand  persons, 
of  both  sexes  and  all  ages.  When  all  were  assembled, 
two  days  more  were  consumed  in  the  effort  to  get  to  busi 
ness,  the  majority  of  the  Indians  being  sullenly  opposed 


to  the  matter  in  hand,  and  some,  especially  the  Cayuses, 
being  evidently  hostile,  regarding  the  troops  with  scowling 

On  the  thirtieth,  the  council  was  finally  opened  and  its 
object  explained.  But  it  was  soon  apparent  to  the  com 
missioners  that  dealing  with  the  tribes  of  the  interior, 
healthy  and  robust,  besides  having  had  the  benefit  of  the 
teaching  and  example  of  honorable  traders  and  sincere 
Christian  missionaries,  was  a  more  difficult  matter  far  than 
making  treaties  with  the  decaying  tribes  of  the  Wallamet 
and  lower  Columbia,  or  the  wild  men  of  the  southern 
Oregon  valleys  and  coast. 

Watchful,  shy,  and  reticent,  little  progress  was  made  day 
after  day  in  the  negotiations.  Speeches  were  delivered  on 
both  sides,  and  although  glimpses  of  shrewdness,  and  bits 
of  eloquence  adorned  some  of  them,  they  advanced  the 
real  issue  not  at  all.  Concerning  the  sale  of  the  Cayuse 
lands,  the  head  chief  gave*  utterance  to  the  following 
fanciful  thoughts: — 

I  wonder  if  the  ground  has  anything  to  say?    I  wonder  if  the 
ground  is  listening  to  what  is  said.    ";  I  hear  what  the  ground 
says.     The  ground  says,  "It  is  the  Great  Spirit  which  placed  me 
here.     The  Great  Spirit  tells  me  to  take  care  of  the  Indians,  to  feed 
them  aright.     The  Great  Spirit  appointed  the  roots  to  feed  the 
Indians  on."     The  water  says  the  same  thing,  "The  Great  Spirit 
directs  me  feed  the  Indians  well."    The  grass  says  the  same  thing, 
"Feed  the  horses  and  cattle."     The  ground,  water,  and  grass  say, 
"  The  Great  Spirit  has  given  us  our  names.    We  have  these  names 
and  hold  them.     Neither  the  Indians  nor  the  whites  have  a  right  to 
change  these  names."     The  ground  says,  "The  Great  Spirit  has 
placed  me  here  to  produce  all  that  grows  on  me  —  trees  and  fruit." 
The  same  way  the  ground  says,  "  It  was  from  me  man  was  made." 
The  Great  Spirit  in  placing  men  on  the  earth  desired  them  to  take 
good  care  of  the  ground,  and  do  each  other  no  harm.     The  Great 
Spirit  said,  "You  Indians  who  take  care  of  certain  portions  of  the 
country  should  not  trade  it  off  except  you  get  a  fair  price."  n 

This  speech  was  as  interesting  as  any,  and  in  its  closing 
sentence  embodied  the  summing  up,  which  in  brief  was  an 

II  Kips'  Indian  Council,  pp.  22-  26. 


effort  to  heighten  the  value  of  the  lands,  and  claim  the 
highest  price,  quite  like  more  civilized  men. 

But,  claiming  that  their  lands  were  worth  a  high  price 
was  not  done  expecting  to  sell ;  it  was  only  to  discourage 
buying.  Over  and  over  the  commissioners  set  forth  the 
advantages  to  the  red  race  of  acquiring  the  knowledge  to 
be  imparted  by  the  white  race.  Their  logic  and  painstak 
ing  explanations  fell  on  closed  ears.  Owhi,  a  chief  of  the 
Yakimas  and  brother-in-law  of  Kamiakin,  was  wholly  op 
posed  to  a  treaty  sale  of  the  Yakima  lands,  as  was  Kam 
iakin  also.  Peu-peu-mox-mox  had  abandoned  his  usual 
deference  to  white  men's  views,  and  stood  up  bravely  for 
the  right  of  his  race  to  hold  the  soil.  The  Cayuses  were 
all  against  the  treaty.  Joseph  and  Looking  Glass,  war- 
chief  of  the  Nez  Perces,  were  opposed  to  it.  Only  Lawyer, 
who  had  been  head  chief  of  the  Nez  Perces  ever  since  the 
Cayuse  war,  and  the  death  of  Ellis  and  Richard,  threw  his 
influence  on  the  side  of  the  commissioners,  to  whom  his 
word  had  been  given  previous  to  the  opening  of  the  nego 

Two  contrary  opinions  have  been  held  concerning  Law 
yer —  one,  that  he  was  vain  and  selfish,  attaching  himself 
to  the  power  that  could  keep  him  in  office;  and  the  other, 
that  he  was  a  wise  and  shrewd  politician,  doing  always 
what  was  best  for  his  people.  Probably  he  was  a  little  of 
both,  as  Lieutenant  Kip  says:  "I  think  it  is  doubtful  if 
Lawyer  could  have  held  out  but  for  his  pride  in  his  small 
sum  of  book  lore,  which  inclined  him  to  cling  to  his  friend 
ship  with  the  whites.  In  making  a  speech  he  was  able  to 
refer  to  the  discovery  of  the  continent  by  the  Spaniards, 
and  the  story  of  Columbus  making  the  egg  stand  on  end. 
He  related  how  the  red  men  had  receded  before  the  white 
men  in  a  manner  that  was  hardly  calculated  to  pour  oil 
upon  the  troubled  waters;  yet,  as  his  father  had  agreed 
with  Lewis  and  Clarke  to  live  in  peace  with  the  whites,  he 
was  in  favor  of  making  a  treaty." 

The  numerical  strength  of  the  Nez  Perces  was  such  that 



on  securing  their  alliance  depended  the  fate  of  the  treaty, 
if  indeed  they  escaped  becoming  involved  in  war  on  ac 
count  of  it,  as  at  some  points  in  the  discussion  seemed  im 
minent.  Even  among  the  Nez  Perces  themselves  there 
was  discord.  Looking  Glass,  from  the  time  he  appeared 
at  the  council,  had  been  insolent  in  his  behavior,  and  the 
little  force  of  fifty  troopers  were  kept  ready  for  action  in 
case  of  an  outbreak.  Joseph,  who  pretended  to  a  more 
distinguished  line  of  ancestry  than  Lawyer,  and  who 
thought  he  should  have  been  high  chief  in  his  place,  as 
he  probably  would  have  been  but  for  the  interference  of 
the  white  admirers  of  Lawyer,  determinedly  refused  to 
sign  the  treaty. 

The  proposition  in  the  treaty  most  difficult  to  gain  ac 
ceptance  was  a  common  reservation  for  all  the  tribes  pres 
ent  in  the  Nez  Perces  country.  Finding  that  this  feature 
of  the  treaty  would  defeat  it  if  further  insisted  upon,  the 
commissioners  finally  proposed  separate  reservations  in  all 
the  tribal  lands,  to  which  proposition  there  was  a  general 
and  apparently  a  cordial  assent.  Kamiakin  only  would 
agree  to  nothing.  When  pressed  by  Stevens  to  express  his 
views,  he  exclaimed,  "What  have  I  to  say?"  and  relapsed 
into  sullen  silence.  Two  days  afterwards,  on  the  eleventh 
of  June,  he  signed  the  treaty  along  with  all  the  other 
chiefs,  giving  as  a  reason  for  his  change  of  purpose  that 
he  did  it  for  the  good  of  his  people.  Joseph,  some  years 
later,  denied  having  signed  this  treaty,  and  pretended  to 
the  ownership  of  the  Wallowa  valley  in  Oregon,  a  claim 
not  justified  by  the  facts,12  but  asserted  by  his  son,  Young 
Joseph,  and  made  the  basis  of  a  bloody  war  in  1877. 

The  Nez  Perces  received  for  their  lands  outside  an  ample 
reservation,  two  hundred  thousand  dollars  in  annuities; 
the  Cayuses  and  Walla  WTallas  were  united  and  given  a 
reservation  in  the  beautiful  Umatilla  valley,  and  received 
one  hundred  and  fifty  thousand  dollars.  The  Yakimas 
received  the  same  as  the  Nez  Perces,  and  were  allowed  the 

12  Woods'  Status  of  Young  Joseph,  etc.,  p.  36. 


best  lands  on  the  south  side  of  the  Yakima  river.  In  each 
case  there  was  the  express  provision  that  all  the  lands  not 
included  in  the  reservations  were  open  to  settlement  from 
thenceforward,  excepting  those  improved  by  the  Indians 
who  were  to  receive  pay  for  such.  Mills,  schools,  mechanic 
arts,  and  all  the  usual  aids  to  civilization  were  assured. 
A  year  was  allowed  in  which  to  remove  to  the  reservation, 
and  accustom  themselves  to  their  new  conditions.  In  short, 
the  treaty  as  a  treaty  was  irreproachable,  although  those 
concerned  in  framing  it  had  been  at  so  much  trouble  to 
secure  its  acceptance. 

The  demeanor  of  the  chiefs  after  signing  was  cordial, 
many  of  them  expressing  their  thankfulness  that  the  nego 
tiations  had  ended  so  happily.  The  goods  intended  for 
presents  were  distributed;  agents  were  appointed,  R.  R. 
Thompson  to  the  Umatilla;  W.  H.  Tappan  to  the  Nez 
Perce;  and  A.  J.  Bolan  to  the  Yakima  reservation. 

On  the  sixteenth  of  June,  Stevens  proceeded  northward 
to  treat  with  the  Spokanes,  Coeur  d'Alenes,  and  other  tribes 
in  Washington  territory,  while  Palmer  returned  to  The 
Dalles,  making  treaties  with  the  tribes  between  Powder 
river  and  the  Cascade  range,  purchasing  all  the  land  in 
eastern  Oregon  north  of  the  forty-fourth  parallel,  and  as 
signing  the  Indians  to  a  reservation  including  the  Tyghe 
valley,  and  some  warm  springs,  from  which  it  took  its 
name  of  Warm  Springs  reservation. 

After  accomplishing  all  this  really  arduous  work,  Palmer 
returned  home,  well  pleased  to  have  succeeded  so  well  and 
entirely  unaware  that  he,  with  all  his  party  and  the  troops, 
had  barely  escaped  massacre  at  the  council  grounds  in  the 
Walla  Walla  valley  through  the  refusal  of  Lawyer  to  con 
sent  to  the  treachery.  Such,  the  Nez  Perces  afterwards  de 
clared  was  the  truth,  and  the  demeanor  of  the  Cayuses  and 
Yakimas  certainly  sustained  the  charge. 

It  has  since  been  alleged  in  palliation  that  the  treaties 
were  forced  upon  the  Indians;  that  their  objections  were 
not  regarded ;  that  a  general  council  furnished  the  oppor- 


tunity  and  the  temptation  for  intrigue;  that  the  commis 
sioners  should  have  been  escorted  by  a  larger  body  of  troops 
and  have  been  surrounded  by  every  impressive  ceremonial, 
this  being  the  way  to  make  sa.vages  as  well  as  civilized 
men  respectful.  Quien  Sabc?  It  was  well  at  any  rate  that 
Lawyer  was  able  to  avert  the  blow. 

While  the  superintendent  of  Indian  affairs  was  busied 
with  treaty  making  in  the  north,  trouble  was  again  brew 
ing  in  southern  Oregon.  Following  some  minor  disturb 
ances,  on  June  first  Jerome  Dyar  and  Daniel  McKaw  were 
murdered  on  the  road  between  Jacksonville  and  Illinois 
valley.  On  various  pretenses  the  Indians,  especially  those 
living  formerly  on  Applegate  creek  and  Illinois  river, 
roamed  about  the  country  off  the  reservation,  and  in  June 
a  party  of  them  made  a  descent  on  a  mining  camp,  killing 
several  men  and  capturing  property  of  considerable  value. 

A  volunteer  company  calling  themselves  the  "Independ 
ent  Rangers"  was  organized  at  Wait's  mill  in  Rogue-river 
valley,  and  commanded  by  H.  B.  Hayes,  who  reported  to 
John  E.  Ross,  colonel  of  the  territorial  militia,  for  recogni 
tion,  which  went  in  pursuit  of  the  guilty  Indians.  This 
was  the  first  organization  of  any  military  company  since 
the  treaty  with  the  Rogue-rivers  in  1853.  The  agent  on 
the  reservation  hearing  of  the  movement,  notified  Captain 
Smith  of  Fort  Lane,  who  took  out  his  dragoons  and 
gathered  up  all  the  straying  Indians  he  could  find,  brought 
them  back  to  the  reservation  where  they  were  safe.  A 
portion  of  them  who  were  not  brought  in  were  pursued 
into  the  mountains,  and  one  killed,  A  skirmish  took 
place,  in  which  a  white  man,  one  Philpot,  was  killed,  and 
several  horses  wounded.  Skirmishing  continued  for  a 
week,  without  very  serious  results  on  either  side. 

In  August,  a  white  man  having  sold  a  bottle  of  whisky 
to  some  strolling  Indians  from  the  reservation,  they 
attacked  a  party  of  miners  on  the  Klamath,  killing  John 
Pollock,  William  Hennessey,  Peter  Heinrich,  Thomas 


Gray,  Edward  Parrish,  John  L.  Fickas,  F.  D.  Mattice,  T. 
D.  Mattice,  and  two  other  men  known  as  Raymond  and 
Pedro.  Several  Indians  were  also  killed  in  the  fight. 

A  company  of  volunteers  was  organized  on  the  south 
side  of  the  Siskiyous,  and  commanded  by  William  Martin, 
proceeded  to  the  reservation,  and  demanded  the  surrender 
of  the  murderers,  which  demand  Captain  Smith  refused 
on  technical  grounds.  He  could  not  deliver  persons 
charged  with  crime  into  the  hands  of  a  merely  voluntary 
assemblage  of  men.  Later,  however,  in  November,  some 
arrests  were  made  on  a  requisition  from  Siskiyou  county. 

Another  affair  in  the  month  of  August  produced  a 
strong  feeling  against  the  military  even  more  than  the 
Indians.  An  Indian  in  the  Port  Orford  district  shot  at 
and  wounded  James  Buford  near  the  mouth  of  Rogue 
river.  Ben  Wright,  the  agent,  delivered  the  Indian  to 
the  sheriff  of  Coos  county,  who,  having  no  place  in  which 
to  confine  his  prisoner,  delivered  him  to  a  squad  of  soldiers 
to  be  taken  to  Port  Orford  and  placed  in  the  guardhouse. 
While  the  canoe  containing  the  prisoner  and  his  guards 
was  passing  up  the  river  to  a  place  of  encampment,  it  was 
followed  by  Buford,  his  partner  Hawkins,  and  O'Brien,  a 
trader,  determined  to  give  the  Indian  no  chance  of  escape 
through  the  sympathy  of  the  military  authorities.  Watch 
ing  their  opportunity  they  fired  upon  the  canoe,  killing 
the  prisoner  and  another  Indian.  The  fire  was  promptly 
returned  by  the  soldiers,  who  killed  at  once  two  of  the 
white  men,  and  mortally  wounded  the  third. 

The  indignation  aroused  by  this  affair  against  the  mili 
tary  was  intense.  The  cooler  heads  saw  that  technically 
the  soldiers  were  in  the  right;  but  the  majority  could  not 
perceive  the  propriety  of  putting  white  men  on  a  par  with 
Indians.  Even  an  Indian,  they  felt  sure,  would  never 
have  shot  down  men  of  his  own  race  in  defense  of  white 
men.  A  contempt,  too,  for  military  dignity  was  supplant 
ing  respect.  An  Indian  had  shot  into  a  crowd  in  which 


Lieutenant  Kautz  was  standing,  the  ball  passing  so  near 
that  Kautz  believed  himself  to  be  struck,  and  fell  to  his 
knees.  On  examination  it  was  shown  that  the  bullet  had 
not  touched  the  lieutenant,  and  that  he  had  fallen  simply 
from  the  nervous  shock  of  a  belief  in  a  wound.  This  in 
cident  was  greatly  enjoyed  by  civilians,  and  helped  to  allay 
some  of  the  irritation  in  the  public  mind  of  this  part  of 
the  country.  But,  although  soberer  counsels  prevailed 
over  an  inclination  to  fight  both  soldiers  and  Indians, 
there  was  in  the  air  that  threat  of  something  to  come 
which  would  not  allow  of  rest  either  to  the  white  or  the 
red  man. 

On  the  second  of  September,  Greenville  M.  Keene  of 
Tennessee  was  killed  on  the  reservation  while  attempting, 
with  several  others,  to  recover  some  stolen  horses.  Two  of 
the  party  were  wounded  and  forced  to  retreat.  On  the 
twenty-fourth,  Calvin  Fields  of  Iowa  and  John  Cunning 
ham  of  Sauve  Island,  Oregon,  were  killed,  and  Harrison 
Oatman  and  Daniel  Britton  wounded,  while  crossing  the 
Siskiyou  mountains  with  loaded  teams.  Their  eighteen 
oxen  were  also  slain.  Captain  Smith  on  receiving  the 
news  ordered  out  a  detachment,  but  was  unable  to  make 
any  arrests.  On  the  twenty-fifth,  Samuel  Warner  was 
killed  near  the  same  place. 

Notwithstanding  these  acts  of  hostility,  such  as  usually 
precede  a  general  outbreak,  Agent  Ambrose  occupied  him 
self  in  writing  letters  for  the  public  press  over  the  signa 
ture  of  "A  Miner,"  in  which  he  declared  the  innocency  of 
the  reservation  Indians  and  their  good  disposition  towards 
the  white  inhabitants.  "God  knows,"  he  said,  "I  would 
not  care  how  soon  they  were  all  dead,  and  I  believe  the 
country  would  be  greatly  benefited  by  it,  but  I  am  tired  of 
this  senseless  railing  against  Captain  Smith  and  the  In 
dian  agent  for  doing  their  duty,  obeying  the  laws,  and 
preserving  our  valley  from  the  horrors  of  a  war  with  a 
tribe  of  Indians  who  do  not  desire  it,  but  wish  for  peace, 
and  by  their  conduct  have  shown  it."  The  nom  de  plume 


of  "Miner"  did  not  long  deceive  any  one  in  southern 
Oregon;  nor  the  affectation  of  sentiments  often  ascribed 
to  miners  in  the  first  lines  of  this  paragraph,  tend  to  con 
ciliate  this  class. 

Early  in  October  a  party  of  roving  reservation  Indians 
were  discovered  encamped  near  the  mouth  of  Butte  creek, 
on  Rogue  river,  and  it  was  suspected  that  among  them 
were  some  who  had  been  annoying  the  settlers.  Upon 
this  suspicion  a  company  of  about  thirty  men,  commanded 
by  J.  A.  Lupton,  proceeded  before  daybreak  on  the  eighth 
of  October  to  attack  this  camp,  which  was  surprised  and 
terribly  chastised,  twenty-three  being  killed  and  many 
wounded  before  it  was  learned  that  the  majority  of  the 
victims  were  non-combatanls,  or  old  men,  women,  and 
children.  The  survivors  took  refuge  at  Fort  Lane,  where 
their  wounds,  and  their  wailings  for  their  dead,  excited 
much  pity  in  the  breasts  of  Captain  Smith  and  his  troopers, 
who  went  out  to  view  the  field  after  the  slaughter,  instead 
of  preventing  it.  In  this  affair  Lupton,  who  was  major  of 
militia,  was  killed,  and  eleven  of  his  company  wounded,  a 
proof  that  the  Indians  were  not  all  unarmed. 

This  occurred  on  the  morning  of  the  eighth  of  October. 
It  has  been  sometimes  alleged  that  the  events  following  011 
the  ninth  were  the  immediate  outcome  of  the  attack  at 
Butte  creek,  but  such  could  not  have  been  the  case. 
Savages  do  not  move  with  such  celerity.  They  could  not 
have  armed  and  organized  in  a  day,  and  must  for  some 
time  have  been  making  preparations  for  war  before  they 
could  have  ventured  upon  it.  Armed  Indians  were  by 
the  treaty  made  suspects,  and  to  have  been  armed  and 
supplied  with  ammunition  evidenced  a  long  period  of 
looking  forward  to  an  outbreak.  The  reservation  and 
Fort  Lane  favored  such  an  intention.  The  former  was  a 
safe  hiding  place,  and  the  latter  a  refuge  in  case  of  detec 
tion  or  pursuit. 

On  the  night  of  the  eighth  two  men  were  killed  and 
another  wounded,  who  were  in  charge  of  a  pack  train  at 


Jewett's  ferry.  Jewett's  house  was  fired  upon,  but  no  one 
killed.  A  considerable  number  of  Indians  had  gathered, 
apparently  by  concert,  near  this  place,  who  about  day 
break  proceeded  down  the  river  to  Evans'  ferry,  where 
they  found  Isaac  Shelton  of  the  Wallamet  valley  on  his 
way  to  Yreka,  and  mortally  wounded  him.  Still  further 
down  was  the  house  of  J.  K.  Jones,  whom  they  killed; 
also  mortally  wounding  his  wife,  and  pillaging  and  burn 
ing  his  house. 

Below  this  place  was  the  house  of  J.  Wagoner.  On  the 
the  way  to  it  the  Indians  killed  four  men.  Mr.  Wagoner 
was  absent  from  his  home,  having  gone  that  morning  to 
escort  Miss  Pellet,  a  temperance  lecturer,  from  Buffalo,  New 
York,  to  Sailor  diggings.  The  fate  of  Mrs.  Wagoner  and 
her  four-year-old  daughter,  Mary,  was  never  certainly 
known,  the  house  and  all  in  it  having  been  burned.  She 
was  a  young  and  beautiful  woman,  well  educated  and  re 
fined,  and  the  uncertainty  concerning  her  death  or  the 
manner  of  it  was  a  horrible  torture  to  her  husband,  who 
survived  her.  One  story  told  by  the  Indians  themselves, 
was  that  she  fastened  herself  in  her  house,  carefully  dressed 
as  if  for  a  sacrifice,  and  seating  herself  in  the  center 
of  the  sitting-room  with  her  child  in  her  arms,  awaited 
death,  which  came  to  her  by  fire.  But  others  said,  and 
probably  with  truth,  that  she  was  carried  off,  and  her  child 
killed  because  it  cried  so  much.  The  mother  refused  to 
eat,  and  died  of  grief  and  starvation  at  "The  Meadows." 
Captain  Wallen  has  said  that  two  scalps  captured  from  the 
Indians  at  the  battle  of  Cow  creek  in  1856  were  identified 
as  those  of  Mrs.  Wagoner  and  her  child,  the  mother's  beau 
tiful  hair  being  unmistakable;  and  the  Indian  stories  may 
none  be  the  actual  truth. 

From  the  smoking  ruins  of  the  Wagoner  home,  the  In 
dians  proceeded  to  the  place  of  George  W.  Harris,  who  be 
ing  at  a  little  distance  from  his  house  and  suspecting  from 
their  appearance  that  they  meant  to  attack  him,  ran  quickly 
in  and  seized  his  gun.  As  they  came  on  with  hostile  words 


and  actions  he  shot  one,  and  wounded  another  from  his 
doorway,  where  he  was  himself  shot  down  a  few  moments 
later,  leaving  his  wife  and  little  daughter  to  defend  them 
selves,  which  they  did  for  twenty-four  hours,  before  help 

Dragging  her  husband's  body  inside  and  barring  the 
door,  Mrs.  Harris  instructed  her  daughter  how  to  make 
bullets,  while  she  stood  guard  and  prevented  the  Indians 
from  approaching  too  near  the  house  by  firing  through 
cracks  in  the  walls  at  every  one  detected  in  the  attempt  to 
reach  it.  In  this  painfully  solicitous  manner  she  kept  off 
the  enemy  until  dark,  when  they  withdrew.  Alone  with 
her  husband's  dead  body,  and  her  weary  and  frightened 
child,  she  spent  the  long  night.  Fearing  that  the  Indians 
would  return  with  reinforcements  in  the  morning,  towards 
dawn  she  stole  forth,  locking  the  house  behind  her,  and 
concealed  herself  and  daughter  under  a  pile  of  brush  at 
no  great  distance  away,  where  she  was  found,  blackened 
with  powder  and  stained  with  blood,  many  hours  later  by 
a  detachment  of  troops  under  Major  Fitzgerald.13 

The  other  victims  of  the  outbreak  of  the  ninth  of  Octo 
ber  were:  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Haines  and  two  children,  Frank 
A.  Reed,  William  Given,  James  W.  Cartwright,  Powell, 
Bunch,  Hamilton,  Fox,  White,  and  others,  on  the  road 
between  Evans'  ferry  and  Grave  creek;  two  young  women, 
Miss  Hudson  and  Miss  Wilson,  on  the  road  between  Indian 
creek  and  Crescent  City;  and  three  men  on  Grave  creek? 
below  the  road.  It  was  altogether  the  bloodiest  day  the 
valley  had  ever  seen. 

When  the  news  that  the  settlements  were  attacked 
reached  Jacksonville,  a  company  of  twenty  men  quickly 
armed  and  took  the  trail  of  the  Indians.  They  were  over 
taken  and  joined  by  Major  Fitzgerald  with  fifty-five  troop 
ers  from  Fort  Lane.  On  arriving  at  Wagoner's  place  they 
found  thirty  Indians  engaged  in  plundering  the  premises, 

13  Mrs.  Harris  afterwards  married  Aaron  Chambers.  She  died  in  Jackson  county 
in  1869,  highly  respected  by  the  community. 


who,  when  the  volunteers  —  the  first  on  the  ground  —  ap 
peared,  greeted  them  with  derisive  yells,  dancing,  and  in 
sulting  gestures;  but  when  they  beheld  the  dragoons,  fled 
precipitately  towards  the  mountains.  A  pursuit  of  two  or 
three  miles  proved  unavailing,  the  troop  horses  being  jaded 
by  a  long  march ;  and  after  patrolling  the  road  for  several 
hours,  Fitzgerald  returned  to  Fort  Lane  and  the  volun 
teers  to  their  homes  to  make  ready  for  the  prolonged  con 
test  which  was  evidently  before  them. 

An  express,  carried  by  T.  McFadden  Patton,  was  already